Are You Garden Wise?

kindnessWhen I posted to this blog yesterday, I wrote a little bit about my garden.  Since I made that post, I’ve thought about the first garden and Adam the first farmer: “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it (Genesis 2:15.)”

Gardens and farmers are metaphors that are found throughout the Bible. In Galatians 6 the metaphor of farming is expressed in the principle of sowing and reaping.  People often interpret Paul’s words in a negative context; however, they should also be considered from a positive perspective as well:

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith (Galatians. 6:7-10).”

St. Basil may have been thinking about these verses when he said: “He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

Taking the words of Paul to heart and applying the saintly advice of Basil, what type of seeds have you been sowing and what kind of harvest have you been reaping?

The importance of sowing seeds of kindness is found in a comment made by Leo Buscaglia: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Kindness is a form of communication that is not limited by ethnic or social barriers. It is a language that even the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

I encourage you to make a difference in the life of someone today—give them the gift of kindness. “Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” ~Mother Teresa

Ragged Genes

genesSilly me, I thought the Washington Post article, “Cheating May Be in Your Genes” was speaking of unfairly playing a game.  You know, bending the rules to get an advantage; however, the focus is on cheating as in having an affair.  I guess that sounds a little nicer than calling it adultery or breaking one of the 10 Commandments.

According to research done by Brendan Zietsch at the University of Queensland in Australia, “an individual’s genetic makeup in general influences how likely he or she is to cheat.” The researchers at Queensland could have saved themselves a lot of time and money.  The answer to their hypothesis is in the Bible.  Ever since Adam and Eve messed things up in the Garden of Eden, 100% of men and women have been struggling with their desires and emotions.

Whenever a person, like these researchers, overlooks the obvious, I remember my old friend Ted and how he expressed his frustration.  His language in such instances was so razor sharp and electrifying he left the recipient of his diatribe shockingly bewildered.  His language was so colorful, it would make your teeter, totter.

My language won’t be nearly as graphic, but I will state the simple truth:  Your nasty sin nature wants you to wallow in the pig pen of life.  It lies to you, and tells you it’s okay to cheat, swindle, steal, and do whatever you feel like doing.  It’s the author of the bestseller: If It Feels Good, Do It.

Here’s a little secret:  It doesn’t make any difference whether you call it your genetic makeup, your DNA, or your sinful nature, you’re still responsible for your actions; and, there are consequences to your behavior.  Sin will always takes you farther than you want to go; it always promises more than it gives and, it always costs more than you want to pay.

It’s time to dial down the static noise and be emphatic about the truth:

  • When you cheat, you rob yourself of your character.
  • When you lie, you exist in a delusional environment.
  • When you steal, you rob yourself of your integrity.

If you will ask yourself these questions, they will help you temper your temptation:

  • Is 15 minutes of pleasure worth risking an eternity of joy?
  • Is the self-soothing value of false pretense worth losing the value of a good name?
  • Can I find genuine satisfaction and fulfilment in stealing something that belongs to another person?

Fortunately failure is not final, and you can learn this from the example of the Prodigal Son.  He was starving and stuffing “himself with the food the pigs were eating.  When he came to his senses he said, My father’s servants have more food than they can eat and here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go back to my father .’”

When you come to your senses, you can come back to your Father—He still loves you.

Ophidiophobia: The Fear of Snakes

snake1Ever since Adam and Eve listened to the smooth talking serpent in the Garden of Eve, and they were snake bit by listening to his bad advice, people have been wary of snakes.  Evidently a man in San Diego should have exercised a little more caution.

When Todd Fassler was bitten by a rattlesnake earlier this month, he joined the ranks of the other seven or eight thousand people who will be bitten by a venomous snake this year.  Of that number only 5 or 6 will succumb to the poison and die.

Since he was bitten, Fassler has learned that snake bites can be both painful and sickening as well as expensive.  He almost relapsed when he learned his hospital bill came to a total of $153,000.

Some snake bites can take a toll on a person’s physical health, but there is another one that is even more deadly when the discussion turns to spiritual consequences.  The snake bite of sin only has one cure and it is Jesus.

To illustrate this, Jesus, referenced an incident in Numbers 21 when he was speaking to Nicodemus:  “Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. In the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up; then all those who believe in Him will experience everlasting life.”

Before you toy with temptation and tinker with sin, you may want to think about the consequences:  The price might be much higher than $153,000.