Pave your garden with good deeds - 18 January 2019

Hennie Symington

Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?’ But the gardener answered, ‘Leave it alone, sir, just one more year; I will dig round it and put in some manure. Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the better; if not, then you can have it cut down.’” Luke 13:6-19

The old saying goes, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If this were true, then we might just as well give up right now at the start of a new year. But what if the opposite were true? What if, by the grace of God, the way to heaven was paved with good intentions transformed into good deeds? What a change that would be!

Perhaps we should think in more practical terms and more long term about changing the way we live. Here are a few suggestions.

Make the world a better place to live in. There are many ways to do this. Plant a tree, give your undivided attention to a needy person, apologise when you’ve hurt or offended someone in word or deed; try not to gossip or make negative remarks about people who are not like you for one full day.

Complete the good work begun by others. That is how countless service organisations such as the Red Cross, orphanages, homes for terminally ill patients, and hundreds of others continue to survive.

Stop blaming others for everything that goes wrong in society.

Live the way you want your children to live so that the next generation will be inspired to follow in your footsteps.

What if the lamb and the wolf could truly live side by side and they could be lead by a child? Then we could truly start dreaming dreams about a New Jerusalem where God would live among us. God wants us to be holy as he is holy. We may not be perfect like God, but striving to follow in his footsteps, already puts us on the road to a more godly way of life.

Prayer: Father, let not my dreams of a better world be mere wishful thinking. Help me to take a brave step in the direction of a new heaven and a new earth by changing my way of looking at life. Amen

 

Gardening God’s way - 17 January 2019

Hennie Symington

Jesus went on to say, “The Kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed in his field. He sleeps at night, is up and about during the day, and all the while the seeds are sprouting and growing. Yet he does not know how it happens. The soil itself makes the plants grow and bear fruit; first the tender stalk appears, then the ear, and finally the ear full of corn. When the corn is ripe, the man starts cutting it with his sickle, because harvest time has come.” Mark 4:26-29

How are you doing with your celestial garden? Here are some gardening tips to help you on your way. Start your garden with Patience. It’s related to the old favourite perennial, Impatience but is far more beautiful and blooms right through the year. It is rooted in love and thrives on kindness and respect for those closest to you. Its best feature is unlimited patience which helps you to walk the second mile with those who struggle, to count your words even under the most trying circumstances and to go on giving long after you’ve done your share of caring.

Another favourite is the Amore Beggaronia. This is not a popular little plant because it demands lots of patience and tender loving care to thrive but comes highly recommended.

My favourite of course is the Anti-frownia Botoxia pot plant. Very popular especially among middle-aged ladies. All it takes is a dash of self-acceptance to bloom. It transforms crow’s feet into laughter lines and makes you much more pleasant to be around. And it doesn’t cost anything!

Then there’s the Get a move on bush – especially useful to more middle-aged and elderly gentlemen who think they know it all and see no need to change or start something new. This plant exudes an inviting fragrance which invites you to become part of God’s wonderful creation. It invites us to make peace with change and discover something new every day. And don’t neglect Peace in the home which is the opposite number of Poison Ivy. This one needs no further explanation.

For more inspiration for your spiritual garden turn to the Bible and study the fruits of the Spirit. Exchange your list with your nearest and dearest and before you know people will be saying: “Goodness me! How he/she has changed. I want some of those little plants in my garden too!”

Prayer: Lord you created us with an inner landscape filled with seed that are good and worth cultivating. Help me to tend my garden so it will bear fruit for all. Amen

Plavei jou tuin met goeie dade - 18 Januarie 2019

Hennie Symington

Daarna het Hy hierdie gelykenis vertel: “ʼn Man het ʼn vyeboom gehad wat in sy wingerd geplant was. Toe hy vrugte daaraan kom soek maar niks kry nie, sê hy vir die tuinier: ‘Kyk, dis nou drie jaar dat ek aan hierdie vyeboom vrugte kom soek, en ek kry niks nie. Kap hom uit! Waarom moet hy langer die grond uitput?’ Maar die tuinier antwoord: Meneer, laat hom nog hierdie jaar staan. Ek sal die grond rondom hom omspit en bemes. Miskien sal hy dan volgende jaar vrugte dra. Maar so nie kan u hom uitkap.” Lukas 13:6-9

Die spreekwoord sê die pad na die hel is geplavei met goeie voornemens. As dit waar is, dan is dit klaar met ons sommer hier in die derde week van die nuwe jaar. Wat as die teenoorgestelde waar is? Sê nou die pad hemel toe is geplavei met goeie dade wat by die woord gevoeg word? Hoeveel van ons gaan dan by die hemelpoorte inkom? Miskien moet ons liewer daarvan vergeet om al ons slegte gewoontes oornag te probeer verander en kyk na ʼn meer langtermynstrategie. Hier is ʼn paar voorstelle:

Maak die wêreld ʼn mooier plek om in te woon. Daar is talle maniere om dit te doen. Plant ʼn boom, gee jou onverdeelde aandag aan ʼn eensame persoon, vra om verskoning as jy iemand seergemaak het in woord of daad, probeer om een dag lank nie te skinder of negatiewe aanmerkings te maak oor mense wat anders is as jy nie.

Maak die goeie werk wat deur ander begin is klaar. Dis hoe talle diensorganisasies soos die Vrouefederasie, die Rooi Kruis, huise vir terminaal siek pasiënte, kinderhuise, en bejaardesorgsentrums en ander voortbestaan.

Steek die hand in eie boesem in plaas daarvan om die vinger na ander te wys vir alles wat verkeerd loop in die samelewing.

Leef volgens die beginsels wat jy aan jou kinders voorhou sodat die volgende geslag dit die moeite werd sal ag om in jou voetstappe te volg.

Wat as die lam en die leeu kon saam wei en ʼn klein seuntjie hulle kon lei. Dan sou ons drome kon droom oor ʼn nuwe Jerusalem waar God by ons en onder ons kom woon.

Natuurlik is nie een van ons volmaak soos God nie, maar ons kan almal iets van God se aard in ons lewens uitstraal.

Gebed: Vader, laat my versugtings nie by wensdenkery bly nie. Help my om soms ʼn brawe treetjie in die geloof te waag in die rigting van ʼn nuwe hemel en ʼn nuwe aarde sodat iets van u Koninkryk in my stukkie aarde tereg sal kom. Amen

Maak tuin op God se manier - 17 Januarie 2019

Hennie Symington

“Met die koninkryk van God gaan dit só: Iemand saai die saad op die land en gaan slaap en staan op, dag na dag, en die saad ontkiem en groei - hóé weet hy self nie. Vanself bring die aarde die graan voort, eers ʼn halm, dan ʼn aar, dan die vol koringaar. En wanneer die graan ryp is, steek hy dadelik die sekel in, omdat die oestyd daar is.” Markus 4:26-29

Hoe vorder jou hemelse tuintjie? ʼn Paar wenke: Begin jou tuintjie met die Lankmoedige Rankrosie. Dit is verwant aan die haak-en-steek-bossie maar is baie mooier en blom dwarsdeur die jaar. Dit is gewortel in vriendelikheid en respek vir die naaste aan jou en sy beste eienskap is onverdunde geduld. Dit help jou om die tweede myl te loop met die wat swaarkry en om jou tong in toom te hou selfs wanneer die moeilik is om stil te bly. Dit is om aan te hou omgee, lank nadat jy gedink het jy’t reeds jou deel gedoen.

Dan is daar die Amore Bedelaria. Dis ʼn nie ʼn gewilde plantjie nie, want hy vra baie toewyding en geduld om te groei.

My gunsteling is egter die Anti-fronsie Botoxia potplant. Baie gewild veral onder middeljarige dames. Al wat dit vra is ʼn bietjie selfliefde om te blom. Dit help jou om meer te lag as te frons en maak jou ʼn baie aangenamer persoon om mee saam te leef terwyl dit jou fronslyne in lagplooitjies verander. En dis gratis!

Dan is daar die Kruidjieroermybos. Dis veral goed vir middeljarige tot meer bejaarde mans wat glo hulle ken al die antwoorde en dink hulle hoef nie te verander of iets nuuts aan te pak nie. Hierdie plantjie gee ʼn wonderlike geur af wat mense uitnooi om deel te wees van God se wonderlike skepping. Dit leer ons om verandering te aanvaar en om elke dat iets nuuts te ontdek. En moenie vergeet van die Vredesplantjie wat verlangs familie is van die Haak-en-steekbossie nie.

Vir verdere inspirasie vir jou geestelike tuintjie blaai deur die Bybel en bestudeer die vrugte van die gees. Ruil jou lysie uit met jou bure en voor jy weet gaan mense begin sê: “Mensig, maar sy/hy het darem verander! Ek wil ook ʼn paar van daardie plantjies in my tuin plant.”

Gebed: Here, U het vir ons ʼn innerlike tuin geskep met die saad van wat goed en reg is. Help my om dit so te vertroetel dat ek die vrugte daarvan aan almal in oorvloed kan uitdeel. Amen

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