My father enjoyed gardening. There was a field about a mile or so from our house. Every spring, he would plow up the field and plant it with a variety of vegetables. All of us kids gave a hand throughout the process but especially at harvest. At the time, I hated it; but amazingly he passed his love for dirt down to me.
Much of my gardening has been in the way of landscaping. When Jane and I built our house, we hired a landscape architect to draw up a plan, but we did most of the work. We loved seeing the vision become reality, every aspect of it. We laid the sod, we planted all the shrubs, we shopped for flowers and always had gorgeous beds. After everything was planted, we did most of our maintenance as well. We mowed the grass, trimmed shrubs, edged islands, spread mulch, replanted flowers, etc. It was like our own little Garden of Eden.
However, I have a problem …. I’m compulsive. When I get started on a project, I have trouble quitting. For example, I remember waking up once in the middle of the night to spread mulch because I felt compelled to do it! Like I was under a spell. When I get that way, I don’t think logically; I can’t make myself quit and say, “Okay, that’s enough, job well done.” No, it’s never enough. There is always room for one more plant. I pass the plant nursery and tell myself, “I’m just going to have a peek.” But somehow a new plant always finds its way to my yard…..
Now, twenty years later, I’m tired. I don’t feel like doing all that work. The shrubs are overgrown, the grass is full of weeds, and I ask myself, “Why did I plant all of this stuff?”
1 Corinthians 6:12 – NASB
12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
God gives us freedom to do things we enjoy. There’s no evil in landscaping or any other hobby per se. But when our hobbies begin to master us……….ah, then we have an issue. The creator becomes a slave to the creation and the demands of the hobby take precedence over more important commitments. Now it has become sin. The hobby turns into a form of bondage, limiting our ability to serve God to our fullest potential.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to recognize a few things about myself. When I get that panicky feeling of “having to do something right now!” I can usually spot that it’s sin trying to sneak into my life. I take a deep breath, consciously say to myself, “Slow down. If it’s that important, it’ll wait until tomorrow.” Amazing how many times it wasn’t so important the next day…..
The mug is raised. Let us pray for grace to use self-control and moderation in every aspect of our lives!