Monday, June 29, 2009

Every Garden Communicates

I just got back from a weekend trip to Maine where I walked the misty gardens of the Mount Battie Inn. In a place where the sea's haze is too lazy to leave early and so social it lingers long past the morning's dew, the gardens are lush and green. The plants tell their story--they're the variety that know how to thrive when the sun is overpowered by fog and moisture and still offer blossoms plump and delicate. The gardens there spoke clearly of their purpose--to offer pleasure and peace to the Inn's guests and to stretch across the hill like a Sunday napper on an ample hammock. They communicated well. Titus 2:1 says, "But as for you, communicate the behavior that goes with sound teaching." This passage is largely pointing to our words--the things that come from our mouths should reflect sound teaching. Too though, the NET translation of the Bible takes the Greek phrasing a step farther and uses the word behavior here indicating that our actions are part of our communication. So our word and deed will either speak soundly or they will not, but they will speak. If the gardens at the Mount Battie had been overrun in weeds they would not have spoken peace and respit to the travelers whose feet padded their pathways. They would not have said someone has taken care to tend to us and we are here to display beauty in a world overrun with chaos. Had their stems and stalks been strangled by unpulled weeds left to grow and spread at will I would not have even desired to walk through them. But they were not. They were healthy and their blossoms were free to flourish despite a rainy spring and wet summer. It's the same with our lives--if we don't pull the weeds by the root our lives will not communicate the behavior that goes with sound teaching. What then is the measure of a weed? First and foremost, it is anything that does not line up with sound teaching. Anything. I'm tempted then to offer you a list of things that would be classified as weeds. I'm even more tempted to share with you the weeds God showed me in my own life this weekend--some of which I had grown very fond. But since we're all blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit and He has the power to speak truth into our hearts, for today let's just ask Him to cause His light to shine on the weeds that are perhaps sprouting next to true plants in our lives. Will you pause with me to ask Him to reveal those things before we dig further? Pray with me: Spirit of truth would you shine on the weeds in my life--make them evident to me that I would allow you to remove them. I desire to be a garden that communicates sound teaching--Help me to yield to your gentle hand. Amen.

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