Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

CONFESSIONS OF A GARDENS SLUGGARD
11/16/2016 12:05:00 AM by: LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

EXCERPT

I PRAYED FOR PATIENCE GOD GAVE ME CHILDREN

 

If you reap what you sow, why is my garden full of weeds?

 

 

A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time

he looks but finds nothing 

(Proverbs 20:4).

 

One day my mother stopped in unexpectedly and presented me with a beautiful azalea bush. I was pleasantly surprised. Two days later, she asked me to return it to her. “What was I thinking? You’re lethal around plants.”

Sadly, her condemnation was well earned. She remembered how I killed my daughter’s ivy. I talked to it daily, fed it fertilizer and watered it routinely. I begged it not to die. No use. The plant met its end in the dumpster like all its predecessors.

I love flowers. I would like to have an attractive flowerbed along the backyard. Sometimes I even dream about velvety roses in the spring and how I would take my coffee out in the morning as they opened to meet the sun. However, the realities of my inadequacies shatter my visions. If the truth were known, I’m more highly adept with a golf club than a hoe. I must confess that I am the gardening sluggard who expects a bountiful harvest without the labor.

Most people erroneously equate the word sluggard with laziness.

Rather than being slack, the sluggard expends energy at the wrong time doing the wrong things. The sluggard will plant seeds during an eroding rain and blame the squirrels when nothing grows.

The story is told of two monks who each planted a shrub. The first monk prayed for sun and rain. The shrub died. The second monk’s shrub flourished. Disappointed in the outcome, the first monk asked the second monk what he did differently. The second monk told the first monk, “I, too, prayed for my shrub. But I asked God to give it what it needed.” That is the difference between the sluggard’s and the reaper’s gardens. The reaper knows he is wanting and goes to the supplier. The sluggard foolishly tries to cultivate within his misinformation.

Wendy believed if she gave her children everything they wanted they would love her.

 

Instead, she fostered weeds of greed and selfishness. One by one, her children ended up in the juvenile system, eventually graduating to hard core prisons. Betty lacked much in financial resources, but prayed daily for wisdom to raise her children. Each bloomed into productive members of society. In turn, these rigorous flowers nurtured Betty in her old age.

Likewise, without proper cultivation of the heart, the garden of our soul suffers. We try to live out our Christian experience in our limited knowledge. We follow a rigorous routine of Bible reading and prayer. Every time the church door opens, we’re first in line for seating. Yet, all the exterior trappings of our religiosity bring no lasting peace or joy. We are as fruitless as the garden seeds sown out of season—and we wonder why.

Such was my estate. I tried to live my Christian life as I try to garden, vigorously applying haphazard and useless energy, which availed nothing. I lacked the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. What I perceived as truth was nothing more than dead leaves raked from the wisdom of pastors, Sunday School Teachers, and acquaintances. My definition of Christian was based upon what others believed. It was counterfeit faith that would never blossom. My heart was a spiritual dessert, arid and fruitless. But when soil is in need of water, God will send the rain. He did so for me, and He’ll do so for anyone who asks.

Then, and only then, will our spirit blossom as God intented. 

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