Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Deliberately. Intentionally.

Is there anything in particular you want to talk with so and so about?  What is it you want to accomplish?  What would you like to see happen while we are doing x, y, or z?  These are the sorts of questions that predictably come from my husband before we visit with people or go to do something.  I love that about him.  He is deliberate.  He considers discussions and activities ahead of time and chews on how he can make the most of the opportunity at hand. 

Have you seen a garden that has been left untended?  Plants grow, wild and unruly.

Have you seen a garden that has been nurtured and cultivated?  Again plants grow, but instead of displaying a wildness about them, there is beauty and order. 

Life, with its relationships and activities, can be compared to a garden which requires tending in order to produce beauty.  I posted part of this quote from the book What Did You Expect, by Paul David Tripp, the other day on my facebook, but here it is again to encourage us all to live our lives with a harvest live with seek to plant seeds with our communications that build up and encourage, and to live lives that reflect and imitate the Master Gardener in all we say and do.

"Every day you harvest relational plants that have come from the seeds of words and actions that you previously planted.  And every day you plant seeds of words and actions that you will one day harvest.  Most of the seeds you plant will be small, but one thousand small seeds that grow up into trees will result in an environment-changing forest." 

Think about that.  Inescapably, we will produce some sort of forest, but what will it look like?  Planting good seed, watering, weeding the undesirables, dividing and transplanting, harvesting fruit, resourcefulness with the fruit -- these are things that do not "just happen."  Good intentions alone are not enough either.  We need to be people who plan our work and work our plan.  And our plan needs to be based in reality, not our imaginations...we need to be people of God's Word which tells us who He is, who we are, what His goals for His creation are, what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil, etc.  When I first started gardening, I worked hard but I did things the way I instinctively thought they should be done...I can tell you my planning and working did not produce the desired results.  Now I read about plants, soil, what is needful, what is harmful, etc...and as I implement what I learn from those who know reality, I increasingly enjoy the view from my window.  Similarly, if and when our plans are lined up with the heart of God which He reveals to us in His Word, and we commit ourselves to working according to His ways, we can go about our life work, empowered by His Spirit, with hope of a plentiful harvest which will both honor the Lord and increase the joy of His people.

I'm still learning about gardening...literally and figuratively.  My husband has been a good example not only in being deliberate in his words and deeds, but in leading our family daily to the only One who can lead the way to a plentiful, joy-filled harvest.

Being allowed to garden alongside the Master is an honor I'm not worthy of.  I've taken His stuff and messed it up repeatedly by dismissing His Word and being wise in my own eyes.  I've insulted Him and dishonored Him and belittled Him over and over again as I've sought to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to, and how I wanted to. Instead of nurturing what He has given, the foolishness of my own wisdom has often brought about injury and destruction.  What mercy He continually shows to let me have anything at all to do with His creation!  Instead of condemning me as the foolish traitor I truly have been, He sent Jesus to suffer His appropriate wrath in my place so He could justly forgive me and draw me close to Himself.  Amazing!  Humbling! True!

There is much more to joy in Jesus than living by certain principles...the principles of His word are good, but the joy overflows from recognizing ourselves as sinners and Him as the One who saves...the One who at great cost to Himself rescues us.  We're not like gardeners who realize from the lack of beauty in our gardens that a few practices need to change, and God just might be a good source to refer to.  No, it's more like we've been personally entrusted by the Master Gardener with a portion of His property to tend, and we think we know better than Him how to take care of things...we ignore Him and make a mess of His gifts, and it is personal...He comes to evaluate and we're guilty, it is plain for all to see.  We can never repay Him.  All we can do is cry out for mercy.  And it is very good news indeed to find He is rich in mercy. 

God is THE Master, which is reason enough to look to Him, but even better than that, He calls us to the work of tending alongside Him as His very own children.  He not only paid our debt, but He adopted us, gave us His name and a rich inheritance, and has promised to always be with us.  His mercy and patience and love overwhelm me...and move me to want to live wholeheartedly for Him.  Deliberately.  Intentionally.  According to His Word and empowered by His spirit, let us all labor with a harvest mentality for the praise and glory of God who is all-wise, merciful, powerful, loving, just, and perfect in every way.  He is worthy!

1 comment:

  1. Okay so this had me in tears all the way through. I love how deliberate you are as well. I was just talking about you todaym you may not know it but you are one of the people I go to for truth/advice/a beating. I know you'll tell me truth and not just what I may or may not want to hear. I love that about our friendship. I love that about you. You are gentle but straight up. Love it. Your heart for Jesus overflows in ways that are not only intentional but sacrificial and being on the recieving end of that support is not only a blessing but humbling. Love you and your precious family. Thank you for this. I want to be more intentional.