Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Glimpses of God in the Raking of Leaves

Pondering God’s Glory in Fall Yard Work

Yesterday I finished my annual leaf-raking marathon. We have 3 gargantuan trees in our yard, and our neighbors all have several of their own, which means we relax under great shade in the summer and swim in an ocean of fallen leaves in the fall. We love our trees, but when the sap stops flowing in October or November, we start raking and don’t stop for weeks.

I took a little break yesterday to make a phone call to a couple God-centered young ladies and that’s when the question came: “What of God do you see in leaf-raking?” Hmmm… what a strange question! But it’s the right one to ask, because after all, everything in life exists to bring glory to God. So we should probably consciously consider “What do I learn or see or remember of God in this?” in every single thing we do, learn, see, experience, feel…

How is leaf raking a means to see and savor the glory of God? I came up with 2 answers. First, leaf raking reminds me that everyone has God’s fingerprints all over his/her soul. Everyone, both God-fearers and God-haters, tends to prefer order rather than disorder. A well-tended lawn reminds me of God’s command to our first parents: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen 1:28). Why are we this way? Because God is this way, and He created us as a reflection Himself. When your neighbor rakes his leaves, he’s showing the family likeness.

Second, leaf raking reminds me that my heart longs for God and God alone. A few months ago these leaves were a beautiful accent to those gorgeous summer days, but now they’re withered and dry. And once again we’re reminded that all the beauties and joys of earth are transient, fleeting, and contingent. The very temporariness of a leaf’s life reminds us that, not all the splendor of earth, but God Himself is the desire of our soul.

Here’s the application to you… Don’t take a break from what you’re doing to think about God. Ponder Him right there in the midst of whatever you’re doing. Discover God right there in your math homework, your daily commute, your relational issues, the news, the weather, whatever. Your job isn’t to bring Him into these things; He’s there already. Your job is just to see Him there!

So next time you’re raking leaves, look for God. Make your own backyard a place of worship and make the leaves themselves holy articles for seeing and savoring God Himself. Still skeptical that tree leaves can be quite that edifying? Well then, you might need a new glimpse of heaven, where “on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yields its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev 22:2).


Anonymous said...

First of all, I do read your blog--every other day or so I check it out. :) I just haven't had any words of wisdom to add. LOL!!

Secondly, raking leaves is a chore I'm not superbly fond of, therefore, this entry was a good one to make me remember to concentrate on heavenly thoughts instead of irritated thoughts while doing so.

You can go on & post some more now since "all of you" were waiting on me to post. (???)

Anonymous said...

Whoops--forgot to sign my name as jo77bella in the above response!!! :P

Anonymous said...

Well, I have never thought about thinking about God like that! It really helped me to stretch mind and think outside of the box. What would you say to the people that care nothing about order? Can you see God in disorder? How?
- bysparkle
Now that you have heard from me, I look forward to reading your blog on heros.

Anonymous said...
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Josh said...

Interesting question about whether you can see God in disorder. Here's my initial thought... Certain "things" in life aren't actually a thing at all but rather the absence of something. Light, for example, is a created thing. Darkness is not; it's merely the absence of light. Disorder falls into the same category as darkness. Rather than being its own independent, created "thing," disorder is merely the absence of an independent, God-glorifying quality: order.