Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stewardship or Pride?

2:06 p.m. Today's project was to hire a brother from church to repair one of the pop-up sprinklers on our backyard slope. Steve designed, organized and installed an automatic sprinkler system for our entire property in 1988 and we've not had much difficulty until last fall. Since the electrical  connections needed skilled time and expertise that Steve can no longer manage, we have just been turning on each station by hand. Six stations control 24 sprinklers. The picture above (preparation for Heidi and Pavel's wedding rehearsal dinner last summer) gives an idea of how big our backyard is, 2,216 square feet, all grass. That's a daunting bill for either re-seeding or sod. Re-seeding is cheaper, but comes with the added penalty of keeping our lab Jada in the house all day for two straight weeks. And that, my friend, is not going to happen...

It seems that the Lord has put on my heart to gradually restore the lawns at our house. We've used and repaired the power mower Steve was using. When it broke down again, my business has been able to finance a lawn service twice a month, thank you, Lord. My dad gifted us with cutting back our overgrown Chinese elms, which finally exposed the front yard to some sunlight! The next step was to have large patches of the ground sodded and re-seeded. I'll be hand-watering those sections for another week.

This has been made considerably easier by my Mother's Day gift--a brand new garden hose. Amazing how something so simple can feel like a luxury, isn't it? God is so good! Psalm 103:1-5 says,

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless
  His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from
Who crowns you with
  lovingkindness and tender
Who satisfies your mouth with
  good things,
So that your youth is renewed
  like the eagle's.

Now, I am pondering whether making gradual improvements to the yards with our limited disposable income, is pride or stewardship.  "The Preacher" in Ecclesiastes rails against vanity (or "emptiness" in the original language) of every kind, including the way we use the word today. Chapter 1:2 says,

"Vanity of vanities," says the
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."

Yet, after eight chapters of ruminations, verse 9:1 speaks a good word to the righteous and the wise:

For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God.

So who are the righteous and wise? Romans 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, no, not one." The only way a human being becomes righteous in God's eyes is to ask Jesus to forgive their sin and be their Savior, to be born again. How can one become wise? Paul writes to Timothy that he has from childhood "known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ." Jesus before His death promised the disciples understanding of matters they would not at that time be able to bear, in John16:13, "when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth."

As a born again Christian, I have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide me and give me the ability to make righteous and wise decisions. And the more I listen to His voice, the better I do.

And even relatively minor issues like restoring my lawns can become a praise to His guidance, provision, and love for me!

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