550 Pym Street North, Parksville, BC V9P 1B6
|Lawn Care versus Soul Care|
|Written by Dan King|
Yesterday evening I had this very enthusiastic teenage girl knock on my front door.
Full of energy and smiles, she told me that she was representing a local lawn care company that was offering free lawn assessments and she asked if I would like to have someone come by.
Now, the lawns at my home are OK, but it can never hurt to get a second opinion, so I said sure. The girl thanked me and told me that I had made a great decision.
Well, it wasn’t two hours later and that front door knock came again. This time it was the professional. He had just taken a look at our property and proceeded to give me his recommendations as well as his very reasonably priced solution to all our needs. The best part: I wouldn’t have to lift a finger for the next year because the company he represented would do all the work for me. Was there a cost? Yes, but the payoff was never having to get my hands dirty.
I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual growth during the last few weeks.
That it takes work and that there is a cost of time and personal energy and effort ... but it is worth it.
It would be so easy just to pop into a church gathering once a week, or download an MP3 devotional now and then and rely solely on that for nurturing my soul. Or maybe I can tune in a Christian radio station while I’m driving or read a book by someone who can tell me about their spiritual life and how they are developing in their faith.
In our consumerist world, why should I actually have to take any personal initiative to grow?
In the Bible, Matthew records the words of Jesus to his followers, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
So even Jesus said that this burden was meant to be light ... but, in saying that, I suppose that there is still burden on us, isn’t there?
Have you ever taken the easy way out of something?
I have many times.
While it is true that I value hard work and I work hard at my job and at being a husband and father, I often do take that easy way out. And there is a cost to that: a negative cost.
As surely as there is negative cost for some actions that we choose to take (or not take), there is also a cost in actions that bring about positive change.
The positive that comes from pursuing our faith development and tending to our souls is discovered in Jesus’ own words about himself: “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
And that cost for this? Jesus explains it in Mark 8.34: “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Having others do the hard work for us in our spiritual growth does not work in the long run. Sure, others can cheer us on and journey with us, but Jesus is clear when he says that we must deny that tendency to take the easy way out. He is clear when he says that each of us must carry the burden or spiritual growth for ourselves as we follow him.
I would love not to get my hands dirty and be able to find someone to look after my soul care, just like my lawn care, but it really isn’t an option.
It’s hard work at times, yet the benefit it is so worth the cost!