Monday, June 29, 2015

The First Tomato

We picked our first tomato of the season on June 19, it was an Early Girl. There are a couple of plum tomatoes ripening on the kitchen window sill – they dropped from the plant prematurely. I need to get out to the garden before it gets too hot today and weed – should have been out there already.

Yes, gardening is a lot of work, but the rewards are satisfying. Harvesting the fruit is work too, especially if we’re canning or freezing, but the rewards are satisfying. And it is always fun to give the harvest away, to have others enjoy the reward of work and attention.

When we give harvest away we don’t say, “Let me tell you about this produce. Here is how we built the raised beds (or tilled the soil). Here is how we amended the soil. Here is how many times we watered the plants. Let me tell you about weeding around this in the early morning, in the heat of the day, when I was tired and didn’t feel like it. Here is how we dealt with disease and harmful insects.”

No, we don’t tell people about the work that went into the garden when we give harvest away; we don’t tell people because of the joy of giving – we want the moment to be one of joy. Of course it’s nice when people later tell us that they enjoyed the harvest, that does give satisfaction.

Today was our first BLT, another milestone. The tomatoes are starting to come in, a couple here and a couple there. The Lord willing there will be days and weeks when we’ll have the counter lined with tomatoes and Vickie will be canning and making sauce. It is work, but it is also satisfaction.

Cultivating the Word of God in our lives is work too – don’t let anyone kid you about that. Constant weeding, no doubt about it. Sometimes life is dry, sometimes it’s refreshing; but we can have faith that the seed of God’s word is growing. The joy of giving God’s Word away, the Word that He produces within us – now that’s a joy that even surpasses the joy of giving ripened tomatoes away.

Monday, June 1, 2015

They Weren’t Dressed Yet

One of the things we do in the apartment business is periodically inspect the apartments we manage. We want to ensure that needed maintenance is performed, that folks are practicing good housekeeping, and that there are no health and safety issues. Sometimes these inspections are done by government entities and mortgage companies to ensure compliance with loan provisions and governmental regulations. Recently I participated in a HUD inspection at a property.

Whenever inspections occur we send notices out to the residents advising them of the dates and times of the inspections; this was the case in the just-completed HUD inspection. The residents had many days to prepare for the HUD inspector.

Around 11:00 AM we knocked on an apartment door to announce the HUD inspector to the resident and to tell the resident that we needed entrance to his apartment to perform the inspection. The reply on the other side of the door was, “I’m not dressed yet.” This would not be the last time we heard, “I’m not dressed yet,” from the other side of a door during that day’s inspection.

All of the people in this apartment community were given notice of the inspection, many were ready, many were not. Of those not ready, some were “not dressed yet.”

There is a day when we will stand before God for an inspection, but it will be more than an inspection, it will be a judgement. Some Christians have gotten the idea that they have a free pass on God’s judgement of their lives, but Paul writes, “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad,” (2 Corinthians 5:10; see also 1 Corinthians 3:10 – 15).

Jesus speaks to us about being ready for His coming; whether His coming is to us as individuals, as His church, or as people on this planet, we ought to always live in His presence, live as expecting His knock on our door (See Matthew 22:1ff; 24:42ff; 25:1ff).

When Jesus knocks those who are prepared for Him will not be ashamed to open the door, for they will be clothed in His righteousness, trusting in Him and Him alone for wholeness, for forgiveness, for salvation (See Romans 1:16-17; Chapters 3 and 4; Philippians 3:9 in context).

Are we ready for His knock today?