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Nurturing where it is needed

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I’m not much on the yard. I know where it is and that’s about the extent of it.  Janice loves to work in the yard—it’s her way of relaxing. Her father was part owner of a lawn mower and bicycle shop and while it may not be in her genetic code, it’s right next to it.

Early in our marriage, we moved out of an apartment and into our first (rental) house, we had a two car garage, but one vehicle. Our neighbor, Milt, had an extra car and asked if he could keep it there. He wanted to pay for it but I wouldn’t take anything. He was insistent and offered to cut our grass and that sounded like a wonderful compromise to me. I proudly went in to tell Janice (thinking I had done something good), and my soft-spoken, gentle wife said, “You go back and tell Milt that we’ll be cutting our own grass.” Yeah . . . you could say she’s kind of passionate about it.

We recently had a large portion of our yard sodded.  Some construction work had been done, the yard looked like it, and the contractor (wisely) included some landscaping in his estimate. The sod was part of that and it’s fairly high maintenance (read: it needs to be watered frequently). I’ve taken an active interest in this because unlike regular yard maintenance, this has more immediate consequences attached to it.  The sod was scrawny-looking and dried out when they laid it. It was obvious that if it didn’t get some serious attention, it wasn’t going to make it. So each night around twilight, we turn the hoses on, move the sprinklers around a few times in the back and front yard, and carry buckets of water to a little patch that can’t be reached by our hoses.

There’s not much to it (it’s more about consistency), but it’s got me hooked. When we started, almost everything was brown so we made sure it all got a good soaking.  Then some of pieces started greening up, so that was encouraging. We kept giving special attention to the pieces that were still working on their tan. Now about a month later, all we have left are a few isolated brown patches, and whenever we water—they get the best soaking.

This all makes me think about Paul’s discussion in 1 Corinthians 12 about the interdependence of the body of Christ.  He assures the Corinthians and us, that while we might find the personal dynamics of our church family challenging at times, God knows exactly what He’s doing in bringing us all together (v. 18). Whether it’s the grass that responds to a little water, the grass that needs to a lot of water, or the grass that requires special treatment (v. 22-23), it’s  all there for a reason. If we’re going to be involved in helping promote growth, our time should be spent not questioning why things are this way, but patiently accepting it and extending nurturing where it is needed.  

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