For I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through the One who strengthens me.
– Philippians 4:11b-13
The other day, in a financial stewardship class I’ve been taking with other United Methodist pastors, I heard a story about this man who had a sizable backyard. However, the grass had problems growing in part of the yard. So he started good lawn care habits. He would water, weed, and treat the yard to encourage grass growth.
He did this for months and months, and the yard started getting better. He kept at it for years, and the grass completely grew in and the yard looked great!
But then he went on a long vacation. And when he came back the grass was crispy and yellow. It was dead! He was so disheartened that he just left it to be.
After six months being out of practice with his lawn care, he noticed a single bluebonnet growing. (Apparently, they thrive in harsh environments.) This man loved bluebonnets, so he shifted and intentionally left the lawn to grow as it wanted – abandoning the chemicals he’d used and leaving the weeds and the harsh conditions.
The next year, there were bluebonnets all over the yard! It was stunningly beautiful!
In my financial class, this was a reminder that even with great financial practices that we’ve had for years, sometimes we still come home to dead grass, or a lost job, or medical bills that we can’t meet. And through all of it we learn to shift, to be flexible, and to set different goals and steps to meet those goals.
But I also heard something else in that story. I’ve been thinking about the election, about this pandemic, about the 7th hurricane to make landfall in our state this year, about our spiritual lives, about how heavy some of our souls have been over the past few months.
About how sometimes we need to toil and work. And yet, in other seasons, we need to be gentle with ourselves. Maybe we even need to let things just be for a while – to allow parts of ourself to lie fallow for a season. And maybe then, we will be surprised where God sprouts bluebonnets in our lives.
Grace and peace,