Our “Garden” Culture

I’ll admit; I don’t know much about gardening. I love to reap the benefits of home grown vegetables, but I’ve never actually grown my own. My mom has had a garden for a few years now, and she enjoys it. But, it is hard work….

When we lived in Illinois our neighbor, Shannon, had a garden, and again, she worked a lot of hard, long hours in that garden. Often I would drive by her house and wave to her as she was using the hoe to tear out the weeds that were consuming her garden. Shannon knew how important it was to rid the garden of those things that sucked life out of her plants, both that were above and below the ground.

Our friend, Bob, e-mailed me the other day about something, and it really got me thinking….

In Galatians 6, Paul is speaking to the church of Galatia.

In verses 7-10  Paul says, “A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Shannon could’ve easily given up gardening after the first two or three weeks, frustrated with the bugs, the weeds, the deer, and the coyotes that came in, trying to destroy her produce. She could’ve gone back to enjoying her quiet time (while her kids were napping) inside, but instead, she saw what the benefits were and what the garden would produce, if she stuck with it and didn’t give up.

I especially like verses 9 and 10.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

It has been somewhat of a discouraging (tiring, really) couple of weeks for us. Paul is tired. I am tired. Summer makes you tired. Even though the kids don’t admit it, I can tell you that our kids (in the youth group) are getting irritable and really ARE looking forward to school starting. They may not like it, but I think they thrive on schedules. Order and structure are better for our lives in the long run.

But, more importantly than order and structure is the idea of learning to and loving others.

And it’s hard to love ALL the time….it’s hard to encourage ALL the time…..it’s hard to support ALL the time……it’s hard to reach ALL the time….it’s hard to work ALL the time……it’s hard to sow ALL the time……and yet….

We do not give up.

We do not grow weary.

We may never see what we sow, but we are trusting God for that part of our ministry.

Words from our friend, Bob.

“Unfortunately, Paul (and myself) are reaping a ‘culture’ that he did not sow.”

The culture (and society) that our kids have grown up in is so different from when we were teenagers. When I speak those words it makes me sound so “old” and unconventional, but it’s so true. I would not want to be a teenager now….I couldn’t handle it. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking to me to watch them, and I’m not even living it….

Our kids live in a lonely world.

Even though our kids say “Oh yeah, I’ve got lots of friends…”, they don’t. They may think they have friends (500+ friends on FB), but they live in the loneliest world.

  • They crave real attention.
  • They crave real friendships.
  • They crave attention (both positive and negative).
  • They have been allowed to “act out” to get what they want.
  • They have been taught in this world of “entitlement” and instant gratification that they can have anything they want, without working for it.
  • They live in a world of brokenness.

(And, I’m talking about ALL kids, not just our kids here in Giddings).

The kids have obviously been allowed to behave like this for some time, so they are part of a cycle that continues over and over.

“It takes time to reverse/change a culture….”

(Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?)

But, we are hopeful (and praying) that if we can reach one or two of the “leaders” in our group, perhaps, over time, progress can be made.

I have tried to instill in our kids (over the last couple of weeks) through just casual conversation the mantra: “Represent HIM Well.”

What I mean is this: Just be a good representative of Jesus Christ. If you are a believer and have Jesus in your heart, then represent Him well. Be proud of who you are and allow people to see Jesus in you.

(If someone new comes to our youth group or when the new 7th graders promote “up” at the end of this month, allow them to feel welcome and safe in the environment that you are creating for them. Let them feel comfortable and blessed by being there).

And, of course, that goes for myself as well. I can get tired. I can get frustrated. I can allow Satan to get the upper hand….but

verses 9 and 10 again:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

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3 thoughts on “Our “Garden” Culture

  1. Pingback: Anyway…. | Finding Refuge

  2. Pingback: Mrs. Fix-It « Finding Refuge

  3. Pingback: 2012 in Review | Finding Refuge

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