Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Wisdom of Growing Grass

When we moved to Chattanooga 31 years ago, we had a lush, green lawn. The previous owner had devoted many hours to nurturing the grass, and his efforts showed. But having lived most of my life in New Jersey and Ohio, where grass seemed to grow with no effort, I didn’t continue the practice. I presumed the grass would take care of itself.

As the years passed, however, the grass became thinner and more sparse. Although bare patches appeared, I still reasoned if the grass was to grow it would do so without my help. I had not intention of spending money on growing grass that I would just have to cut.

Three decades later, our “lawn” had become a disaster. Blades of grass were few, and as most of the topsoil washed down the hill, even weeds were struggling to take root. Reluctantly, several weeks ago I decided it was time to spend some money…to grow grass.

Early growth can only be
strengthened through time
and attention.
A lawn service added topsoil, along with grass seed and straw, and we’re starting to see results. Much as I hate to spend money on watering the new grass, it’s necessary and I’ll do it diligently to ensure growth.  Hopefully, months from now the tender sprouts we see today will restore the rich groundcover we once had.

The same principle applies to spiritual growth. Just as with any relationship – spouse, children, relatives, friends – there is a cost involved to nurture a growing, maturing relationship with God. It won’t just happen without our conscious commitment.

Years ago I read a little booklet, “My Heart Christ’s Home,” in which author Robert Boyd Munger suggests having a specific time and place to meet with the Lord on a daily basis. He doesn’t take a legalistic stance, insisting a “good Christian” must spend X minutes or hours each day in Bible study and prayer. He simply points out God desires to spend time with us, and if we are to grow in intimacy with him, there can be no substitute for the investment of time.

In Psalm 119:9-11, King David wrote about the joy and benefits of spending time with God and the Scriptures: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

In an earlier passage, David expressed his own yearning for time with God. “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). Do you ever feel like that?

Even Jesus rose early every morning to spend time with the Father, knowing it was vital for fulfilling His responsibilities each day: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed” Mark 1:35).

A friend once said to me, “God isn’t a short order cook waiting expectantly for us to place our orders.” That’s true. Much as a husband longing to return home to a loving wife, or a parent yearning to embrace a beloved child separated by many miles, the Lord deeply desires time alone with each of us, talking, listening and, over time, seeing the seeds of His Word bear beautiful fruit in our lives. 

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