tI recently decided to take up gardening...sort of. I mean, I was not out there knee deep in soil and tilling soil in order to grow my own lima beans. Close. Not quite as involved. The kids and I went to the local nursery and picked out some vegetable plants and an orange tree. (Ok, ok.. I guess "gardening" is a stretch) We took all afternoon planting our new "projects". We sweated, dug until our hands were filthy and calloused. Gideon even helped dig the big hole for the orange tree. We then went inside to enjoy a cool drink and wait for our tomatoes and oranges.
We have been in drought conditions here in south Florida over the last couple of months, and despite my efforts to keep up with watering I found this morning that one lonely little tomato plant that had been planted in the corner of the front yard withered and appearing to be dead.
I dug around the poor plant and pulled it out of the bone dry soil. The roots; exposed, made me sad. I made it my goal to save it's life. I gently brought it to the front porch where I had some potting soil and a few extra pots. I went inside, got some water in a cup and began to gently pour some water on the roots. I then went to work getting the pot ready for it's new occupant. I took soil in my hands and placed in the bottom of the pot. I then, again, took the water and poured a little into the bottom soil. I then, carefully placed the poor tattered thing in the pot. I began handing soil to pot again. Methodically I watered, handed soil, and well, as odd as it may seem, began talking to the plant. I know that they say it helps, and I will admit I was emotionally involved at this point so I was talking. Telling "it" that "you are going to make it.. I am going to take care of you". I finished the "extreme tomato plant makeover" session with a good misting of water and left it outside as I went in to clean up. I came back out an hour later and to my surprise the little withered plant was perking up. I smiled ear to ear! I was so happy. I bent down and talked to it again, encouraging it, breathing on it. I misted it again with water and went back inside. An hour later I went out and this little guy was a brand new plant. No more withered leaves. No more pathetic stance. It stood tall and refreshed.
Now, there is a spiritual application here. We are this plant, yes I could go there. I could talk about how God breathes on us and waters us and we grow. How we are dead in sin, but he transplants us, and we can truly grow and thrive. But I am going to come at it from another angle. The angle of serving others. You see, we are surrounded by withered plants. We walk by them every day. Desperate for water. Desperate to have someone talk to them. Desperate for someone to encourage them and plant them into good soil that will feed them. Tears come to my eyes as I type this. WE CAN BE THIS TO THEM! WE CAN BE JESUS TO THEM! Why do we walk by when this simplest of things like just stopping to talk to someone can be the difference (sometimes LITERALLY) between LIFE and DEATH. I am throwing down the gauntlet. I am saying let's stop SAYING we want to change this word and let's DO IT! Jesus, everywhere he went.. never ignored a need. He never said, .."no, just don't have time. I have this whole sermon on the mount thing in a couple hours, so... yeah." OR.. "You know I am not a short order cook and it is not my fault these 5000 people are hungry.. I AM HUNGRY TOO YOU KNOW!.."
He met needs. He spoke truth. He breathed life. I don't know about you, but I want to BE like Jesus, not just be a follower of His. I want my life to reflect His LOVE .. His TRUTH.
My challenge is this... FIND A WAY TO BE HOPE TO SOMEONE THIS WEEK. Some suggestions are as followed:
-Buy a meal for that homeless person you pass everyday
-Call that friend you have not spoken too in forever and just say I love you.
-Volunteer at your church
-Sit with someone who in mourning
-Volunteer to babysit for a single mom on a regular basis
THESE ARE JUST SIMPLE SUGGESTIONS I would love to hear how you implement this! Post and let others know, we can be an encouragement to one another to serve.
Serving together with you in Christ,