I have often described myself as a “jack of all trades and a master of none”. I can do a lot of things fairly well but not one thing is the “best”. Gardening or growing things, besides kids, is not one of the things I do fairly well. In fact, if my kids just hung out in the yard and never asked for water or food, this blog would have had a very different beginning.
Gardening requires commitment, attention and a desire to see things grow from nothing to something. While I do value these qualities, I just don’t apply them to plants. A couple Mother’s Days ago, I received an anonymous gift of a beautiful hanging basket. I was thrilled and concerned at the same time; thrilled at the surprise gift and concerned about its inevitable short lifespan. In the end, it fared well and every year since, I have treated myself to a “Mother’s Day hanging basket”.
This year, I upped my game and purchased a large water jug reserved solely for my precious hanging basket. It took on a protector role as it sat on the step just below the basket, a should-be-reminder for me to use it. Overall, I did well to remember to water and feed the plant and it blossomed exponentially. However, one afternoon, I noticed that my bright yellow flowers were much less bright and appeared to express a sort of Eyeore-esk perspective on life.
In desperation to revive it, I administered plant first aid in the form of life-giving water from the water jug that still sat on the step just below the basket. (The jug almost seemed to reprimand me as I drew it near to the plant.) My plant was so dry and lifeless and looked beyond repair. For a brief moment I considered that the time had come to retire this year’s “Mother’s Day hanging basket”. I decided to take a before picture in hopes of having a decent after picture and metaphor on which to base a blog. (always thinking) Sure enough, the next morning I woke to flowers bright with heads lifted towards the heavens. And, just like that I had my metaphor.
In the months since the pandemic hit, the Lord has been working on my heart and calling me deeply into truth; knowing it, living it and sharing it. The truth being the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
- We all have a problem with sin (Romans 3:23)
- The consequence of our sin should be death and eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23)
- In His great love, God gave Jesus to take our place in death (Romans 5:8).
- Finally, whoever makes a personal choice to accept God’s great gift, will be saved (Romans 10:13). God did this for EVERYONE (John 3:16).
I have always known this truth and lived this truth but in this time of uncertainty and wild world events, I realize how much more I need to know, be strongly grounded in the truth and “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks [me] for a reason for [my] hope” (1 Peter 3:15). We live in a world where people need hope and truth, the truth that can only be found in the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Over the last few years I have become more and more aware of the false teaching and false gospels that have permeated the Christian faith. Sadly, there are many who are giving up their lifelong faith and looking outside of the Gospel of Christ to find their hope and truth. Many have accepted a culture of self-love over the all-fulfilling love of Jesus Christ. A verse that has been strongly impressed upon me is Matthew 16:24: “then Jesus said to His disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me”. The truth is, it’s not about what we want or think we need. Rather, we need to follow Jesus and live our lives within the guidelines that have been set out in God’s Word (taught in the summer series “10 Ways to Enjoy Life- Following God’s Commandments”.
Okay, so the metaphor? Reflecting on the two states of the plant, we see how the plant was not able to thrive due to a lack of water. While it didn’t get watered, it did have access to sunlight, air and the occasional sprinkle of rain, all good things. But, they weren’t enough to help the plant grow well. When the plant received the life-giving water, the one thing that it desperately needed, it blossomed once again. When we are lacking the truth of the Gospel in our life, we cannot thrive. We can access other things that appear good but in the end they do not help us grow well. Are you feeling thirsty for life-giving water? Who or what is providing you with things that appear good but are not the truth? In this world we will hear all sorts of different voices, but we can follow only one. In Mark 9:7, God makes it unmistakably clear who that One should be; we must listen to his Son, Jesus. “Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!"
Seeking and living the truth of the Gospel requires commitment, attention and a desire to see things grow from nothing to something; qualities well worth applying for a full life with Jesus Christ.
This fall, a friend and I will be facilitating a book and Bible study for women. The book is entitled “You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay)~ Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love” (Allie Beth Stuckey). It is all about busting some myths and finding truth. While we read the book we will also be digging into Ephesians. We would love to have you join us. Check it out at CrossroadsChurch.ca/Groups.