Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh yeah... Summer is here..

Nothing says summer quite like my Daddy's garden. Now add to it, my  uncle's garden and brother's garden.  This week we dined on the first fruits of Daddy's zucchini and yellow squash, as well as Uncle Freddy's tomatoes. Sure, you can get most of these same veggies year around in the local grocery, but there's so much more flavor in the home grown vegetables than in their store bought counterparts.  I suspect several of you know what I'm talking about. You bite into a big red-ripe juicy tomato from the store and it has all the appeal of eating cardboard. No amount of salt and pepper will help. Show of hands for anyone having had that same experience? Let me raise my hand several times on this.   Contrast that with a home grown tomato... fresh dirt... real cow fertilizer, and hydration from the underground spring.  Oh yeah.... you know what that flavor. You mouth comes alive when you bite into that tomato from the garden. Didn't realize tomatoes were supposed to taste like that, did you? To be honest, I was completely satisfied with the ho-humness of the grocery store tomatoes until I tasted the real thing from Daddy's garden. I didn't know vegetables could BE so good. I've eaten so much zucchini and yellow squash, I think I might've hurt myself.

You know? I have to wonder if our Christianity isn't like that same situation, sometimes. We settle for 'store bought' Christianity. Looks good. Looks like it should look, but is it the real thing? Or is it a lifeless copy? There was one chat friend from years ago, lamenting the "turning over" of another friend. She was an unbeliever at first, got cancer, then decided to trust God. Our mutual friend was disappointed. "I never expected HER to turn--she was the LAST one I expected to turn!" he lamented in PM one day. Further discussion revealed that he felt Christians were sort of like the Borg on the Star Trek series. "You will be assimilated, resistance is futile" all the Christian drones chant in unison. I understood what he meant. I've been one of those drones before, and perhaps you have been, also. Maybe you still are? You know--the one where we have that glazed look over our eyes, will deny any sort of discomfort or trial, and are able to quote from memory, all the verses dealing with any challenge and dispel the challenge away. Does this sound like you? Do you feel compelled to go run a poor sap up a flag pole trying to get him or her into your local church on Saturday?Sundays? Are you tired of feeling like you have to smile all the time, have to be in a good mood all the time, and because of your status in the local assembly, aren't allowed to ask for a shoulder or other help? After all, YOURE the Christian, YOURE the one that's supposed to be providing the help and extra shoulder. YOU have Jesus, YOU are supposed to never fret, fear, grow anxious or anything else that might depict your humanity. To be anything less... wouldn't that make Jesus SO disappointed in you? He trusted you to further the Gospel, and you can't even get your own living right? Maybe you're tired of always being the one people go to when they have problems.

It's time to let all that go, and enjoy the REAL fruit from the garden. Too often, 'back in the day' I was relying on store bought veggies to fill my belly. This was sad, really, because I grew up with gardens. Daddy was always messing around with gardens, and one of our chores growing up was weeding and harvesting. I don't remember doing any fertilizer, but boy, oh boy do I remember peanuts! We'd go dig them up, positive that we had them all, only to have MORE peanuts the next day, that the rain beat up to the top. Daddy swore we never picked the peanuts, and we swore they doubled over night. But really, that's how the Holy Spirit living inside of us is. Our food never runs out, it's always fresh, and we never, NEVER have to rely on an outside source for nourishment. I cannot tell you the relief I found when I no longer had to work in the garden of my life. The Holy Spirit was doing the gardening, and all I had to do was to rest and enjoy the fruits of His labor. I had the Holy Spirit to begin with, but somewhere along the line, I ignored the fresh, home-grown vegetables (Holy Spirit) and instead, simply relied on someone else to grow my food for me (started focusing on "behaving' instead of "living"

You see, my friend, once we put our focus on the true vine, instead of us branches, we could rest, and be at peace. Too often, the local assemblies list of 'have to's" become about as tasteful as the store fruit. Looks good, seems wholesome,  and if we don't know any different, it will seem 'okay'. But I assure you, once you eat from the Master's garden, that Life springs up within, and it's all the Holy Spirit working in us, us yielding to Him, I promise you--you'll never want the store bought stuff again.

Come try Him. What do you have to lose? I'm not asking you to stop going to your local assembly, unless you want to. What I am asking, is that instead of letting others' dictate your prayer life, your scripture reading, your witnessing, all the other 'do good' things we do, allow the Holy Spirit that lives within you to dictate when and where we do what we do.

Enjoy His garden!

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