Every season when spring comes, I get outside onto the acre our home sits on and spend a lot of time with “lawn spring cleaning” before it gets too warm. There is much work necessary each season as we clean up brush and leaves, pile up dead branches for burning, trim limbs and occasionally chop down smaller trees. Also clearing areas of brush while it’s relatively easy must be done before the growth takes off.
These times are good for me because I need the long periods of brisk exercise and cardio and the mild temperatures allow me to labor for hours. I also have a great opportunity to hear the Lord when involved in this kind of task. For some reason I always can hear His voice much clearer when involved in this kind of work. I also see many analogies of things I love to read about in the Word of God. The entire bible has them, but the NT especially has three kinds of analogies that Jesus, Paul and other writers used.
These parables have themes that are:
1) Agricultural – speak of growing, like the story of the mustard seed, the budding fig tree, the field and vineyard;
2) Architectural – speak of building, like the tower and city set on a hill;
3) Economic – speak of stewardship and reward, like the Father who left his business to his son, the lost coin or treasure in the field.
These agricultural themes are the ones most vividly illustrated at the beginning of spring, when dormant plants and trees bud and burst back to life. Jesus said, ”See the lilies of the field”. In other words, “notice these things”, so when doing this type of work, I see a lot of things I would never notice before. Unless you are around and up close, it might not even get your attention.
As I was piling up brush for fires, I noticed a particular kind of thorny vine that attaches itself to the bottlebrush shrub that commonly grows all over our property. It’s called the “Devil’s walkingstick” and while birds love to feed on its fruit, to me it is a nuisance, especially when trying to clear areas. It attaches to anything (ME) it can to survive. I have to admit I wasn’t surprised when I found out it’s name had “devil” in it! Yet when I take a moment to observe it, I realize God uses this thorny bush to feed birds. They are attracted to its fruit and they don’t seem to be bothered by its thorns.
Matthew 6:26 says “ Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” When I see this, my mind is blown as I realize that what to me is a thorny painful nuisance, God uses to feed and bless the birds. Jesus must think pretty highly of the birds as He like to write about them! Linda, the grandkids and I really love having the birds around and they so add to the rustic natural setting we have around our home.
While the bible clearly says we don’t understand God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), I find it amazing how God is so resourceful and ingenious to use one’s dreaded nuisance to actually feed and bless another. So next time something really annoys you, ask the Lord to show you if what is a nuisance to you might also be a blessing to someone else!
Pastor Marc Lawson
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