Times

It’s the best of times and the worst of times all at the same time . . .

for weeding, that is.

The grass growing behind my flower patch is growing high and wide, encroaching on my territory–it must be banished!!

Today is a perfect day to rip it out–the sun is shining brightly, and the temperature is a breezy 68F (20C). I could weed all day in this weather!

The problem is it hasn’t rained in a few days and the soil is on the dry side. Which on one hand is a good thing! Dry dirt doesn’t stain my skin like damp soil, so I can do more digging without ending up wearing my “gardening manicure” for days on end.

On the other hand, dry dirt makes for inefficient weeding. Drier soil is harder, and instead of getting the whole plant out, a lot of tiny roots break off and stay behind. The first picture below shows the bottom of a clump of grass I pulled up this morning. The second shows tiny roots that broke off the bottom of the clump, staying behind in the soil below.

Those tiny roots don’t look very intimidating, until you realize each one could sprout a new clump of grass in the same spot! Not nice. Maybe I’ll use the beautiful day to prune bushes instead.

Today’s flower bed brings Ecclesiastes to mind.

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

On the surface, it seems like the perfect day to weed! But underneath the ground is evidence that weeding would in fact be a poor use of my time.

Today also wouldn’t be a great time to plant seeds, unless I felt like lugging a watering can back and forth from the house. Not my idea of a fun time–I’d rather plant seeds when the water falls from the sky! It’s much easier that way.

The spiritual side of life also has times and seasons of uprooting, planting, and watering.

Time to Uproot

Followers of Christ are called to uproot things from their hearts and lives that reflect poorly on him. How can we shine brightly for God when we’re wallowing in the weeds?

“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior” (Ephesians 4:30-31).

“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (James 1:21).

Times for uprooting call for prayer and instrospection. It’s an inner focus. The next two kinds of times call for an outward focus.

Time to Plant

Instead of judging the world, followers of Christ are called to bring the Light of Life to it. We can’t hold the rest of the world up to the same standard we do ourselves if they don’t even know the ruler of our Kingdom!

I understand that some of my readers live in areas where everyone has at least heard the good news of Jesus. I can’t say the same for my little spot on the globe. Some folks around here have never set foot in a church. Ever. The only “gospel” they’ve heard is the bickering and condemnation of those in the church both toward one another and toward the world at large. Who would want any part of that??

Instead, we must live out the love of God for each and every person we come into contact with. They are not the enemy. They are not dirty heathens. They are made in the image of God, and we tread on thin ice when we think we can look down on anyone who doesn’t see things the way we do.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

Jesus, in Luke 6:37

How we respond to and treat others will affect how well they receive what we have to say. Our attitudes can either soften hearts or close ears before we even say a word.

We are called to work alongside God, who is the Master Gardener. He knows the condition of every person’s heart, and whether or not its soil is ready to support the sprouting of new life. We need to walk in prayer, listening for his guidance to let us know when the time is right to plant.

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26).

He is always working, but his timetable is far different from ours. In the meantime, we let our light shine, living in love and letting our actions point to our heavenly Father.

Time to Water

Jesus is the Living Water. Before we come to know him, we live in a dry spiritual desert and don’t even know what we’re missing.

But when we meet him, our hearts come alive!

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

John 7:37-38

Not only do we come alive, but we are filled to overflowing with enough living water to bring refreshment to others. It’s not meant to be hoarded for us only, it’s meant to be shared!

Consistently spending time with Jesus, our Source of Living Water, will keep that river flowing through our lives to be a blessing to others.

What time is it?

What’s the “weather” like in your area? Is today a good day for a bit of soul-searching and weeding? Is it a beautiful time to plant a few seeds? Or perhaps refresh someone with words of life?

Listen to what God is saying, and be quick to respond. There will be a reward for his faithful followers.

The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.

1 Corinthians 3:8

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