We find ourselves in that time of year again when gardens seem to be in full swing. The corn is knee high, crops are growing, and the flowers are blooming. All seems well in the yard. The biggest concern we face in the garden or flowerbeds are weeds. We can work tirelessly to get them all, but they just keep coming back. Though we can manage the rate at which they come back, we cannot completely eliminate them. Those pesky weeds are the enemy and all would be perfect if we could just get rid of them. There is no amount of hoeing, weeding, tilling, or cultivating that will get rid of them completely.
SURVIVING AND THRIVING
What if I told you that there was something more important for your garden than just keeping the weeds at bay? There is something more essential than weeding, though it goes hand in hand with it. The most vital thing you can do for your garden is irrigation, which is to provide it with water. We can weed and prune all we want, but without rain or manual irrigation our plants will never survive in the dry soil. They cannot thrive, live, or produce healthy fruit in parched, hot soil.
I wonder how many of us stay faithful servants when we are so caught up in the tasks of weeding that we forget that we need to be irrigated. It would be like a baker who just bakes and bakes and feeds and feeds, but then collapses because he hasn’t stopped to nourish himself. How many volunteers and full-time ministry staff have we seen succumb to burnout because they are always giving and serving, but never taking a season of rest. Even the ground that we grow our vegetables and flowers in needs a season of winter to break from producing and be restored so that it can flourish again in the spring.
ESSENTIAL FOR HARVEST
Irrigation is an essential part of creating a healthy and prosperous harvest. When there is a lack of water, plants hold back on producing strong vibrant flowers, fruits, and vegetables because they are trying to preserve life; but when there is adequate moisture, plants thrive and so does their produce. This is true for our yards, the more it rains the sooner we have to cut the grass. That can be a nuisance, but there is also a danger: when there is fertile soil, the weeds will also grow rapidly.
I believe we understand the concept that believers need to be connected to a source that fills and restores us, but I think that we get so busy doing the work of the Lord that we don’t take time to rest; we forget the importance of a Sabbath. We were never created to be Energizer Bunny Christian Servers. We need to stop and be refilled, otherwise the recovery time from burnout is greater and sometimes the damage is even beyond repair.
King David prayed "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." – Psalm 63:1
PRODUCTIVE FOR GOD
This longing is engraved upon our souls, yet we are easily distracted. It seems that the more we try to soak in Jesus, the more weeds Satan pops up – even by using the trick of convincing us that serving in the church is the same as personally spending time with God. I’m sure that it is true for all of us that our lives are chaotic and the work is never done, just like with gardening. My reflection today is simple. While we are tending to everything that requires attention in our lives, we must keep a purposeful perspective: We acknowledge that we need to irrigate ourselves with Christ first to be truly productive for God.
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. - Exodus 20:8-11
Be still and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10