When we moved into our house 1 1/2 years ago, we knew we’d have a lot of work to do in the backyard. Though the ivy, ground cover, and large flower bed were perfect for an elderly widow, they weren’t really conducive to play sets and backyard baseball games.
We’re working on it a little at a time, as our schedule and finances allow, and yesterday we took apart the large flower bed, stacked the bricks, transplanted flowers, leveled the mound of dirt, and planted new grass.
It was time consuming. It made us sweat. It required us to dig deep, to tear out unhealthy roots, to carry heavy weight, and to essentially replant. The new seed was costly. And it will take time for the grass to grow and show results.
And as I worked and my muscles began to ache, I realized how much our project yesterday reminded me of ministry and the work of essentially replanting a church. It’s hard. It’s incredibly humbling. It’s time consuming. It requires digging deep and tearing out unhealthy roots to make room for new ones. The weight is heavy to carry and it will take time for true, healthy, and vibrant growth to spring forth.
Sure, we could have just left the flower bed in the middle of the yard, afraid to make changes, trying to just work around what we had. Sure, we could have done without the digging and tilling and just thrown some shallow seeds and settled for quick growing weeds and crab grass to cover the dirt. But we knew it would be worth the work, worth the cost, and worth the time waited to produce growth that truly fit our family’s needs and purposes and desires.
And so it is with ministry. I’m reminded to not take the “easy” way out. To not become impatient or discontent with the time it takes. To not complain about the cost because I know that it WILL be worth it. To follow the Lord’s lead to achieve the kind of growth rooted deeply in the Gospel and that best glorifies and pleases the Owner and Father and Lover of the Church.
As I watch the rain fall this morning, I’m reminded that I can work and toil and serve, but ultimately the grass’s growth is NOT up to me. On my own I CANNOT make it grow.
And I pray. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will do the work, asking Him to give us the grace to be faithful, and trusting His hand and His plan for growth both for my yard and for His Church.
“He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.”
– Psalm 147:8
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, Who makes things grow.”
– 1 Corinthians 3:7