Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Soldiers Of Christ Arise"1 (Lyrics)
I like to sing just as much as I like to garden, so my plans for the summer were to be singing in the garden. However, when the talents were being handed out for singing and gardening, I was lined up for knitting and reading. According to my daughter, I sing like a frog, and to this day, I cannot tell a weed from what I have planted until they are about six inches tall. My garden consists of several small beds around the house and a vegetable patch about 8 by 14 feet. It's not very large, but we have a grand time watching things grow.
This week, I was reading over the creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2, when my attention centred on this verse:
Genesis 1:28 – And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (KJV)
When I tend and care for my patch on earth, I try hard to follow these instructions. I don't use pesticides, and we try to use organic fertilizers. We rotate our crops every two years so that the insects that they attract get confused and stay away (mostly). With regard to the weeds, well, we let them be, since in Jesus' parable, the workers were instructed not to gather up the weeds, "because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them" (Matthew 13:29 NIV). Maybe our crop yield isn't as good as it could be, but I discovered that when I tried to pull out the weeds at a smaller stage, too many of the wanted plants came out with them. When the weeds reach about six inches, I start to trim them down with scissors or grass shears. Eventually, most of the plants outgrow the weeds around them — not all, but most. Also, some weeds are very pretty.
I think that God also enjoys watching His garden of people grow. I am sure that He laughs at some of our antics and weeps at others. His gift to us of free will allows us to make our mistakes and messes, while His gift of grace allows us to accept the greatest gift of salvation in His Son Christ Jesus, our Redeemer. I am grateful every day for that gift of His Son, our Lord and Saviour. It fills my inner being with joy, peace, thanksgiving, and strength. It causes me to sing in my garden. Like a frog or not, I am making my "joyful noise unto the Lord" (Psalm 100:1 KJV).
I am also struck that this earth is not ours. Sadly, we have not always cared for it, and the earth is showing this in many ways. Our native peoples have a saying that reflects similar sentiments: "Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents; it was loaned to you by your children." It was entrusted to us by God to care for and enjoy. "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Psalm 24:1 NIV). We are not to exploit or abuse the earth, but rather, we are to tend and care for it. We are stewards of God, His hands here.
Prayer: Holy Lord, forgive us our sins of omission and commission against Your most glorious and precious earth. Help us to find ways to help the earth heal while we still enjoy its beauty and abundance. Make us better stewards of all You have given us. Hear our hymns and songs of praise as we "make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation" (Psalm 95:1 KJV). In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.