Wednesday, November 6, 2013


My mother used to love this time of year. She probably STILL does. When we lived in New Berlin (a suburb of Milwaukee) she used to have my dad take slow, relaxing drives through nearby Elm Grove just so she could smell the burning leaves. Elm Grove had a lot of trees. Elm trees. Most of the elms are gone now but the name remains the same.

This time of year there are leaves falling all over the place. Even our "ever green" trees drop a lot of their needles in the fall. It's kind of nostalgic I guess to think back to those Sunday afternoon drives - the beautiful colors, entire families out in their yards, kids jumping into leaf piles over and over again, the giggles and the laughter. But these days fall has a less romantic meaning for me. It means I have to . . . rake.

Our neighbor has one of those really annoying leaf blower contraptions and I swear, judging by the hideous, penetrating, whining noise it makes, it takes longer for him to get his leaves into a pile now than it EVER did before!

This year my wife hurt her back trying to pull some of her heavy pots into the shed. She went to the doctor and he told her she must rest for a week. Well, with our daughter getting married this coming Saturday THAT is not going to be happening so I am keeping an eye on her so she doesn't do anything foolish . . . like rake the yard.

I used to rake the leaves into long lines and then set them on fire. Now there's all kinds of government restrictions. Burning permits need to be taken out. Life used to be fun. There is nothing more satisfying that watching the cause of all one's hard work literally go up in flames. Yeah!! Burn, baby, burn!!

Raking CAN get quite tiresome after a while and it requires no small effort to get rid of all of those  pesky leaves. Yet, at the end of the day, the yard looks clean and beautiful and, although my muscles are a little sore afterwards, I feel like I have accomplished something. I feel . . . energized.

When was the last time you read your Bible? (smooth transition, eh?) Hopefully it was today. I think many of us tend to take out our Bibles only when we really need to. Maybe I have a Bible study I'm getting ready for or maybe someone is in need of a verse and I'm trying to find one for them. I don't read my Bible as often as I should.

But do you know what? Every time I read it I get the same feeling I get when I rake the yard. Not the dreadful feeling of dong hard work. I'm talking about that energizing feeling. When I open my Bible my life is often a mess, just like our front yard. I'm usually feeling kind of down too but, strangely, when I'm done reading God's Word, I have a better outlook on life. I feel like my spiritual yard is all raked and clean and everything makes perfect sense and is in complete order.

It is also true that I have felt more than just a little pain while reading the Bible. A particular passage might really convict me. I might gain new knowledge and learn ways to make my spiritual "raking" more productive and easier. Reading God's Word is a great way to get the exercise we need to make sense out of the piles of debris and clutter in our spiritual "backyards."

You know, the easiest way to rake leaves is to do it daily. There aren't as many, The task doesn't seem so daunting. There is a lower chance of becoming injured due to over extending ourselves and straining those muscles we haven't used since LAST fall!

It is easier if we maintain our spiritual yards on a daily basis too rather than waiting until there is a crisis in our lives to throw up an emergency prayer to God. If we open up God's Word every day we will find ourselves ready to handle even the biggest pile of leaves on a windiest of days.

"And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." - Luke 10:2

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