Let me begin with a confession--I’ve got garden envy. There’s a house on my street I pass whenever I walk my dog. The grass is greener than any other lawn on the block, and the garden, oh the garden, it’s always filled with the most colourful flowers, neatly placed in perfect position. It’s the kind of lawn that makes me yank my dog’s leash if he ever dares raise his leg.
Not like my lawn. Weeds, moss, dried up patches of grass, withered shrubs. The only pop of colour on my lawn lasts about a week before those dandelions morph into contagious clouds of cotton that are blown into the wind by my kids, thus spreading my epidemic.
My neighbour’s lawn is flourishing with beautiful life, mine’s barely holding on. It’s no surprise that my neighbor is often out in her lawn, pulling out weeds, raking up leaves, meticulously manicuring like a teenager preparing for a date. That’s the thing about gardens: they flourish when they’re tended to. Their beauty comes at the end of hard work. They don’t just spring to life out of nowhere; rather they’re raised to life with care and attention. Good gardens are cultivated.
Our life with God isn’t much different. A life that flourishes into all that God intends doesn’t just happen. The beauty of such a life is cultivated, tended. Its growth comes from investment. Its colour sown in seasons long before the bloom.
When you think of your own life with God, your own garden, is it flourishing? Or is it barely holding on?
In John 10:10 Jesus reminds us that he is the way to full and abundant life. It’s an offer full of hope and beauty, yet, to partake in the fullness of this life we need to learn to garden, we need time and space to cultivate life with the one who gives it.
I wish we could just push a button and then become fully alive to all God has for us. We’re an instant society where information is at the tips of our fingers in seconds, food comes fast, and our entertainment is on-demand, so why not our discipleship? Well, I guess the simple answer is, it doesn’t work that way.
Take the artist, for example. She doesn’t wake up one day and create a masterpiece. She learns her craft, she invests herself in the trade, she trains in colour, composition and perspective. And along the way she risks failure to create something beautiful, stumbling along one brushstroke at a time, year after year, becoming an artist. Becoming a follower of Jesus is no different. Life with God, like an artists’ masterpiece, needs to be cultivated. (Which reminds me, thanks Jori for drawing our logo!)
May you hear Jesus’ invitation to you today, and everyday: “Come to me, I’m waiting for you, I have what you need.” And may you find a rhythm to cultivate life with him.
As a community we want to cultivate life with Christ together. So on Sunday September 29th we’re inviting you make a commitment with us. We’re asking people to spend 15 minutes 4-times a week to read the Bible and pray. We want to keep it up for 9 whole months and trust that through this time God will grow something great, something beautiful.
We have two resources to help you in the process:
Solo: An Uncommon Devotional - A great devotional based on Eugene Peterson’s The Message. Copies will be sold after the services on September 29th for $15.
Essential 100 - A Bible reading plan that surveys a variety of important Old and New Testament passages. It’s available for free on the YouVersion Bible app which can be downloaded at bible.com. (To access, open the app > select “Plans” > Search “E 100.”)
I look forward to cultivating life alongside of you.