Thursday, May 22, 2008

Phillip and Deanna at "A Pura Lena," a restaurant in Piura, Peru.

This week, I spent several hours moving a large pile of dirt. If it were measured, it was approximately 7 to 9 cubic yards. That is a lot of dirt.

I was helping a friend get his yard ready for this weekend when his son is getting married. I do not know exactly what role the backyard of my friends house is going to play, but I know it will host a lot of people.

When my friend and I were recently in his backyard, he was showing me his new patio. It was quite beautiful. Understandably, he was proud of it.

In order to set the patio of pavers in appropriately, the men who installed them, dug out a significant area, and piled the dirt around the base of a very mature tree near his shed. That was a problem and my friend was not aware of it.

Many years ago, I actually went to college (Purdue University). While there, I studied horticulture. I love the sciences, though I find I am often alone in this. One of the elementary rules of tree life, is that you cannot change the surface level of soil within the dripline of a tree by more than an inch or so without killing it (the dripline is the area branches cover and provide shade to).

Few people seem to know this. Therefore, many have killed the trees in their yards by doing landscape jobs and moving surface soil around without giving it a thought.

The trees die a slow death. It doesn't happen over night, it takes years. The Dr. that taught that class said that the trees affected by surface soil changes would then enter a "state of decline." (I think someone moved the surface soil around my body without my knowledge).

This process begs the question, why does this kill a tree? I am sure there are many reasons, but one of the primary is that all of the surface roots that the tree has spent its lifetime forming, which collect rainwater and nutrients from the soil are killed by level changes. They do not receive enough oxygen at deeper levels and they need it. In essence, they no longer breath as they need to, and so a slow death ensues.

I find a similar event occurs in the lives of believers who hang on to pet sins. Most of us have an area of sin in our lives that we routinely struggle with. We may have tried to yield it to the Lord, only to pick it back up again. We do so for many reasons, but comfort is a big one. When we find comfort in specific actions that we know to be wrong, yet continue to perform over long periods of time, we in effect cover over the surface of our hearts, that then struggle to receive filling.

We no longer are able to do the things the Lord would desire because our focus is on this small, often pitiful area of self. We nurture self over Savior. This nurturing is fruitless. It leaves us feeling more empty than when we committed the sin, yet we continue to forage around with it, hoping it will yield different results.

Over time, we find ourselves wondering whatever happened to the walk we once had. We wonder why we are not effective in Kingdom work.

It's because we have buried our hearts, our souls, under the muck of repetitive filth. The muck won't allow filling from the Word to pass through and take hold.

The plans our Lord has for us are significant, but they can only be realized if we allow Him to haul out the dirt...restore our hearts. We've gotta allow the Spirit of the Lord to assist us in this as we are not capable of doing it alone. We've tried that over and over, and we see it doesn't work. We need to yield to Him, and allow Him to bring the restoration we seek.

My friend allowed a friend to assist him in making the necessary changes to his yard. We need to do likewise with our hearts.



At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great analogy as usual Brent, thank you!


At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for that Brent.


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