Overgrown Branches

My wife got an ear full of my belly-aching this evening.

We’ve talked for weeks about needing to cut back the crepe myrtles before they start putting on new growth. And, I remembered this afternoon that this was a task that we had considered doing today.

So, it’s not like we put it off this year. The problem was that we’ve put it off a few years.

Of course, I thought I had it in hand, I have an electric saw that I’ve used in the past and it makes pretty quick work of these branches.

So, I get it out and get to work. Part way through, I notice a problem and stop to look. Oh, no! The chain had slipped off. Now, some of you yard experts are ready to say, “well, just put it back on.” Unfortunately, this is a specialty type of saw and I will have to look at some instructions, figure out how to get it out and put it back on. Yard work is not my forte, and my maintenance of tools doesn’t go much beyond oil and gas.

So, now I’m part way through a job, it’s getting late and I need to get on with it, not spend an hour or more figuring out how to repair my saw.

Well, it’s the old pruning loppers to the rescue. And, now having put off the pruning a few years creates an issue. Many of these branches are thick and tough. I’m no strong man, so I’m pulling with everything I’ve got to cut through some of these branches and by the time I get to a stopping point, I’m tired, sore, and aggravated. And, still I have to move all of these unwieldy branches – that I had planned to saw into smaller, handier pieces with that now useless saw – out of the front and side yard.

Gratefully, my wife stepped in to assist in moving the branches, making it a much easier and enjoyable task than the one I was looking at earlier. However, she patiently listened to my griping as we started. (She’s a lovely woman.)

It was even her idea to turn this evening’s episode into this post.

Our lives can be going along without us taking care of things that need to be done, the laundry piles up, the car doesn’t get serviced, the air filter doesn’t get changed. OK, you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m sure there is something in your life that you put off. Perhaps it’s an unpleasant task. Could be it’s just procrastination. Maybe something else seems more important at the moment. Relationships could fit into this category.

Maybe it’s our relationship with God. “Oops, I didn’t pray today.” “Oh, no, I haven’t read my Bible in a few days.” “Meditate on scripture, with these children, I don’t have time.” In the Christian life these are called disciplines and sometimes we are not disciplined.

Then, we develop overgrown branches, and though we think we’ve got it under control, something goes wrong and we have a problem. This happens to most, if not all, of us along the journey. I’m so grateful for a merciful, loving God, but He does discipline us for our failure to trust Him, honor Him, and serve Him.

Prayer, Bible reading and study, scripture meditation, loving others, sharing the Good News with those who need to hear it. Let’s allow God to prune our branches before they get overgrown.

A Hymn for Us:

1. Savior, teach me day by day
Love’s sweet lesson to obey;
Sweeter lesson cannot be,
Loving Him who first loved me.

2. With a child’s glad heart of love
At Thy bidding may I move,
Prompt to serve and follow Thee,
Loving Him who first loved me.

3. Teach me thus Thy steps to trace,
Strong to follow in Thy grace,
Learning how to love from Thee,
Loving Him who first loved me.

4. Thus may I rejoice to show
That I feel the love I owe;
Singing, till Thy face I see,
Of His love who first loved me.

“Savior, Teach Me Day by Day” by Jane E. Leeson


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