OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #280 The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Tree
We are well into gardening season and I hope that we’re not so different from others who feel like they’re falling behind on the yard work and weeding. It seems that we get one area done and then it is time to do another, and then by the time we get that finished the lawn needs to be mowed, and more weeds have sprouted in the first place we worked.
It is interesting to think that we actually reflect the image of God when we garden. Genesis 1:26-27 tells us we were made in God’s image, so it only makes sense. “Like father, like son,” as the saying goes. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “A chip off the old block.”
So how is it we reflect God’s image when we garden? First, there is the urge to bring order from chaos. This is exactly what God did at the beginning when He created the heavens and the earth. We are reminded that the earth was formless and empty. God set about to bring order from the chaos - scheduling day and night, separating sky and sea, arranging plant and animal life. Gardening is nothing if not bringing order from the chaos.
There is the urge to create and to be creative. Before creation, nothing existed, but God called it all into being from His imagination. He made it new. He is Creator and creative. In the same way, we reflect the image of God in us when we look for new ways to do things. “Wouldn’t it be neat if...?” is the question of creativity.
(On a side note, I think this issue of creativity is a possible solution to the “worship wars.” Often we turn the issue into one of new music VS old music, when the real issue is not music, but creativity. No one is asking (or allowed to ask?) the question, “Wouldn’t it be neat if ...?” Anyway, back to the main topic.)
No gardener will question that humanity’s first place to commune with God was in the garden. There is something about being in a garden which connects us to God and brings a sense of peace and calm. No wonder Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, a garden outside Jerusalem. I think this is all related to Romans 1:20, where we discover that nature reveals some of God’s character traits – power and divinity, for example. Not much wonder we feel closer to God outdoors.
While we have the image of God in us, Paul tells us that Jesus is the real thing. He is the “image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1: 15) While activities like gardening show that we have some of God’s traits in us, Jesus fully glows in these things because He himself is God.
Every time I look out the window, I am reminded of my shortcomings as a gardener. There is always more work to be done, something I could have done differently or better. I guess in this way gardening is a little like life. But I have One to look to, Jesus Christ, who isn’t hindered by imperfection. It gives me hope and direction, that I can look to Him as I face life’s troubles.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a bi-weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. This letter published May 29, 2012. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com.