Jean Newell, Associate Pastor, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
“Spring is sprung; the grass is rizz! I wonder where them birdies is?” So says Winnie-the-Pooh, a fictional character created by A. A. Milne.
I love to hear birds sing, but what I don’t love about spring is weeds! My front yard is all rocks, and about half of my backyard is lawn. The other half of the backyard is desert landscape which is a fancy way of saying dirt! With two young grandsons who enjoyed playing soccer, the original backyard lawn didn’t have a chance of surviving. As the boys got older and developed other interests, my family reseeded half of the backyard and grew a lawn again. Over time, we’ve added mesquite trees to the backyard and lantana bushes to the front. With spring rains and warmer weather now, everything is growing! With all the new growth, though, the trees are top heavy and lopsided, and the bushes are growing bushier. Unfortunately, the weeds are growing, too!
Because I don’t know the first thing about pruning trees and bushes and I don’t own a lawnmower, I need help! I need someone who’s got the expertise to deal with overgrown trees and bushes and a wildly-flourishing weed population! I need a landscaper, a professional gardener, to weed out what needs to be gotten rid of and prune what needs trimming in order to encourage fruitful and productive growth.
Might the same be said for each of us as we enter into the Lenten season? Lent is a time for introspection… a time for pruning those areas of our lives in which the weeds of less-than-desirable habits like self-centeredness, fear, doubt, unforgiveness and worry are rooted and preventing fruitful growth. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2
As a follower of Christ, I seek to be like Christ. However, there are some days when my attitude and/or behavior is anything but Christ-like. It is for times like those that I need God to pluck my weeds and prune me in order that I might be more fruitful in God’s kingdom. God’s pruning changes lives! May your life be changed this Lenten season by life’s eternal Gardener!