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    Entries in Gardening (2)


    Picking Henbit

    It is late February in Central Texas and spring has arrived. A mild winter and warmer weather have sped along new growth, not only of green grass and budding bushes, but of weeds. Yard work begins.

    Over the past few weeks I have peered out my back window and observed my yard being overtaken by clover, chickweed, and henbit. I ignored these weeds as long as I could. These invasive weeds lack strong roots, but tend to emerge and overtake the St. Augustine grass I would like to see flourish. The weeds spread their leaves over the top of the lawn, blocking the sunlight my grass needs to thrive. Without an intervention the underlying grasses will wither and die.

    During the past two days I have been at work, pulling up the weeds. Cultivating a garden and tending the soul are close cousins. As I have yanked, gathered, and disposed of these unwelcome invaders, I have reflected upon the spiritual life.

    As in the emergence of an invasive weed, it is often true that we do not always cultivate those things that crowd out the good growth we desire in our own lives. They just take root and begin to grow. We passively let them emerge and unfold. We pause, reflect, and observe the beginnings of something that we know is a problem and could later become an epidemic, yet we delay action. We wait. Or we become consumed by our commitments and the cares of life, even while knowing that the best time to yank a weed is before it goes to seed. 

    Good growth takes tending. It takes attention. And it requires routine. In the spiritual life, we gather with the saints. We cultivate friendships that offer wisdom, accountability, encouragement, and challenge. We spend time reading the Bible, and we abide by the law of love in our quest to be found faithful to the Word. We pray, daily, and listen to the Lord. We worship God. These habits draw our attention to the voice of the God who speaks, who draws our attention to that clover over yonder, or that henbit right there, which, left alone and untended, may eventually occlude the Light that is Christ. 

    Tend your yard, yes, and may it flourish. Better yet, tend your life.


    Gardening and Culture Making :: The Pattern for all of Work

    Gardeners Area

    Last week I wrote a post on work that got a bit of attention from readers, and I have a number of guesses concerning why. Most of us recognize the deep challenges and the great rewards that come with work, and I have yet to speak with someone who is not seeking meaning or significance in their jobs or vocations. We would like to believe that our work is worthwhile, not simply for the pay, but because it contributes to the common good, the up-building of human society. If we believe in God, we hope that our service has a connection to our faith.

    In the Bible, the first occurance of work is in Genesis 1, where God forms and fills the earth by the power of his word. In Genesis 2, prior to the moment where the man and woman take from the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil," God places the man in the garden to "work it and care for it." Work was included in what God deemed "good." Intuitively, we sense this, for while work can be toilsome, we have experienced the deep pleasure that comes with a job well done.

    Timothy J. Keller is one of my favorite authors, and in his book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work, he explores the Genesis 1 and 2 passages, drawing out implications for us as God's representatives on this earth concerning work. Keller contends that as "God's image-bearers with regard to creation...we...carry on his pattern of work." Quoting Al Wolters, Keller notes that as an extension of God's work to form and fill the earth, "[we] carry on where God left off." Keller argues that in the pattern of the gardener, "[rearranging] the raw material of the garden so that it produces food, flowers, and beauty," we find the pattern for all of work.

    Keller writes:

    Farming takes the physical material of soil and seed and produces food. Music takes the physics of sound and rearranges it into something beautiful and thrilling that brings meaning to life. When we take fabric and make a piece of clothing, when we push a broom and clean up a room, when we use technology to harness the forces of electricity, when we take an unformed, naive human mind and teach it a subject, when we teach a couple how to resolve their relational disputes, when we take simple materials and turn them into a poignant work of art--we are continuing God's work of forming, filling, and subduing. Whenever we bring order out of chaos, whenever we draw out creative potential, whenever we elaborate and "unfold" creation beyond where it was when we found it, we are following God's pattern of creative cultural development. In fact, our world "culture" comes from this idea of cultivation. Just as he subdued the earth in his work of creation, so he calls us now to labor as his representatives in a continuation and extension of that work of subduing.

    Let these words dignify your work and inject them with meaning.

    You Might Also Be Interested In:

    Christianity and All Forms of Work
    Common Grace :: Appreciating Good Work in All Forms
    Tim Keller on MSNBC