Posted by: karanoel | June 26, 2018

Not our problem?

Before I finally made the effort to prune the rose bushes at our rental home, I had certainly like having roses, but they belonged to my landlord – not me – and I considered their well-being her problem. I think it’s safe to say that I even judged her for their state of decline while I sat by doing next to nothing. But then I felt compelled to step in and invest myself in their care. After some fairly hard work, countless thorn pricks, watching and waiting, I came see them differently. They are now my babies; adopted into my garden family (which is lucky for them, since my family is the only part of our yard that I actually tend to). I check on them every day, getting giddy when I see fresh, leafy growth and new blooms, and find myself concerned about the couple that haven’t resurrected as well. Of course they still technically belong to my landlord, but I have a new sense of ownership that probably bodes well since we all know owners usually take better care of property than renters.

Which got me thinking. If we see ourselves as renters on this earth, we will likely brush off the world’s decline and all its hurting people as God’s problem – not ours – and we might even judge Him for the way He is handling it. But if we pause for a moment, we might hear a whisper that says we are stewards here; that this creation and its people have been left in our care; that we are needed. If we heed that whisper, we might be compelled to invest our efforts – rather than just our voices – in a need that we see. Maybe that investment will establish a sense of care and ownership because where our treasure is, there will our hearts be (Mat 6:21).  Where our hearts are concerned, there is always a desire for something more pure and true than what we can accomplish on our own, so humility just might follow.  And maybe – just maybe – that humility will swing wide open a door for the powerful grace of God (1 Pet 5:5), who makes all things whole, to be manifested in this broken world through His presence in us.

It is not about a finding a cause. It is about being the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth, by His power and because of His love. As we invest our lives on behalf of others, the domain of what we consider to be “ours” will be stretched and expanded until those who were on the outside – those who were “not our problem” – are brought to the inside, where we see them as our own. That kind of care can’t help but revive this struggling garden we live in; each of us faithfully tending our part until we give it back to its rightful Owner upon His return. And then He will gloriously restore it and, with great joy, give it right back.

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. Matthew 5:5

–While writing this post, I was reminded of Tattoos on the Heart, a book that affected me more deeply than any I’ve read (apart from the Bible, of course). I can’t recommend it enough.


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