This post is not intended or meant to be negative in any way. It is simply a public service announcement. If what is said offends or irritates in any way.....I apologize in advance......
This time of year the flowers are beautiful in South Carolina. I have Camelia bushes that produce some of the most brilliant red/pink flowers you have ever seen......rose bushes......purple Iris'........and a Clematis climbing up the trellis next to my shed with the brightest purple/pastel hues and picturesque flowers imaginable...... And then there are the Azaleas. Talk about breathtaking. My front yard is so thick with pink splotches of Azaleas that you can barely see the leafy green.
Well I am doing a little jogging the other day and I see a stretch of homes that had (in my opinion) done the unthinkable. They had shaped these beautiful bushes into boxes, cubes, and spheres. Now this might be OK for some sort of Holly............. but for Azaleas.......Ugggghhhh... In the pruning process these well intentioned gardeners? eliminated the budding blossoms that so successfully reflect the beauty of our Creator God. The scandalized shrubbery's souls had been stolen. Am I overreacting? Maybe.
Now....I know pruning is a good thing.....I preached about it this morning. As Jesus says in John 15, we need to be pruned to robustly grow strong and mature for the long haul. My problem is the "when" an "how" these poor azaleas were pruned.
My azaleas only bloom for a few weeks. When they are done and start to loose their luster, I cut them back. This gives them a full year to replenish. The problem I have with the "shapers" is I have never seen a shape that was more beautiful than the natural way the bushes grew on their own. The gentle sways. The subtle bends. These could only be made by the creator God who envisioned the beauty of the Azalea to begin with. I know we have all inherited a little of the creativity of our Creator that finds wonderful expression in all parts of life.........its just can we really improve on what God has already given us? I feel like much of this artistic expression is sometimes misguided.
I've been feeling this a little with the whole "stewardship" experiment for the last few weeks. I feel like I try to squeeze so much into such a small amount of time that I have almost mechanized things. I have had the tendency in the past with all my busyness to "shape" the time God has given me. Maybe that is as abominable as shaping the azaleas. I have found life goes on when I don't dine out. Riding the bus introduces me to new and interesting people with stories I would never have otherwise heard. I enjoy riding much more than driving. My time is not as much mine. I'm on other peoples schedules and I like it. Its much more of an organic free flowing schedule to live by. I don't see a bohemian lifestyle in my future. Its just I like my schedule to develop. I like being on God's time. I can still have a plan.... a plan ever subject to change.
Lets face it.....God's plans are always so much better than ours anyways. We may not fully realize it now temporally but it will become clear as our eternal perspective develops.