I’ve spent much of the last two afternoons and evening outside working on my garden. This is my private sanctuary but I’ve spent precious little time out doors these past two years. My husbands failing health and other concerns have made my time outdoors minimal.
I prefer the English, free-form style of garden. Yet, I’ve learned this design still takes as much work as the more formal, immaculately trimmed Japanese garden.
It appears at times that everything, even God, fights against my maintaining the garden area. Wind storms insure that the trees are trimmed. However, the winds come, the trees are trimmed and the branches are dropped willi-nilli around the yard. I overheard a Christian neighbor tell her husband. “Dear, when you trim the trees, you remind me of God.”
“Yep, you cut it down and throw it on the ground, waiting for me to pick it up. That’s the same way God does it.”
This morning after hours of weeding, sweeping, raking and pruning, there are new leaves and fresh weeds waiting for my attention. Last week, I remembered that during the years that my garden was well groomed, I seldom spent hours working in my yard. However, each day I was outside–15 to 30 minutes every morning or afternoon.
Like most achievements in our lives, it isn’t the bip! bang! wow-wee! method that reaps deep dividends but the slow, methodical, daily work which insures success. Solomon in Proverbs speaks often regarding the wisdom of daily efforts. God, through Isaiah, says that even spiritual and godly success is a result of ”line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.”
One of the most successful pastors and teachers in the world is Rick Warren. I follow him on Twitter. It is astonishing how much he advocates slow, meticulous progress, rather than hyped, whooped-up success. In another area, financial guru, Dave Ramsey, preaches the same methods for financial well-being.
Within the mentally challenged community, these are men and women whose learning abilities are developmentally delayed. They are able to learn. However, their learning ability is slowed. Yet, when they have a concept or idea, they embrace it with such a firm grasp that they seldom lose it. Margaret wanted to read all her life. Finally, she found a program that she could understand. Margaret learned to read. Each morning and afternoon as she rode the bus, she would take out her book and read. No spare moment was missed that reading did not fill. Holding her book to her breast, she would grin and remind me, “Do you remember that I can read?”
Gardening, finances and our spiritual lives have much in common. God often desires slow, daily efforts. This may not be easy but the rewards are magnificent flowers, embraced by colorful and fruit-filled lives.