Friday, September 13, 2013

As Long As Life Lasts

Last weekend I pruned rosebushes.  For the first time.  Ever.  Yes, I know that's hard to believe.

I sure hope I didn't kill them!

A friend from India who visited recently (thanks, Leonora!) showed me how and I took the badly needed plunge.

There are quite a few things that have slipped through the cracks of my 'normal' adult skills since I've spent most of my time in developing nations.  Kind of like how I have recently discovered house cleaning with microfiber and other modern fibers rather than a rag or sponge.  Oh my goodness!  Who knew? I will never leave the First World again without it.

But I digress.  Back to rose bush pruning.

A task that was hanging over me actually turned out to be fun!  Clipping off dead wood in order to let new life thrive.  I had a few pricks on my hands after as the spines on the old branches protested with their natural protection, but the bushes look ready for spring.  Probably a bit late to do it actually, but better late than never.

How often do we resist the 'pruning' in our lives?  Both by our Heavenly Father and pruning that we know we should do ourselves?  My last year has involved a lot of pruning.  But now I'm feeling 'lighter' and know that the new buds are forming.

"Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.  Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.  Instead you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith and endurance."
                                                  -Heb. 6:11-12

"Spiritually dull and indifferent," sounds like dead wood to me!  When I read this the other day I found it interesting that the key to not developing this dead wood was to 'love others as long as life lasts.'  Through up's and down's.  Through trials and times of peace.  Through the beautiful and even when we're unlovely.


Hannah spoke last Sunday night at the church where she's an intern.  Her text was James 2:1-13.  This passage mentions the rich and says that if we show favouritism we, "...sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (vs. 9-10)

Hannah and Aaron prepared a speech ahead of time and Aaron read it during her message.  It was about how he, because of his background and the places where he's lived, struggles more with discriminating against the rich instead of the poor.  But that how he's realized that that is showing favoritism as well.  How any kind of favoritism discriminates.

Hannah then went on to give a beautiful explanation about how the law through Christ is actually meant to bring freedom and that the message here is actually about love.  The passage ends with some of my favorite verses:  

"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that GIVES FREEDOM (caps mine), because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement."  (vs. 12-13)

Loving those who we see as unlovely, or unworthy, or just plain make us uncomfortable without favoritism.  Love with mercy for as long as life lasts.  A unexpectedly good recipe for avoiding becoming spiritually dull and finding freedom!

We need to consciously keep challenging ourselves, think beyond the confines of what's comfortable and, "Just do it."