My dialog with a hedge – Crosswalk the Devotional

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My conversation with a hedge
by Shawn McEvoy

Those who neglect discipline despise themselves, but those who listen to criticism gain understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and humility comes before honor. – Proverbs 15:32

A few years in the summer, my wife and children leave me for two to three weeks to visit all of their relatives in Texas while I am at home and work. For the first day or two they are gone, I enjoy my freedom from some of my tasks. After that, however, I tend to go a little bit crazy. I wander around the house or do "improvement" projects that I have nothing to do with. Invent lyrics. Or have conversations with inanimate objects.

A few years ago, in the middle of their trip, I cut off the bushes under our front windows. The three on the right side of the stairs grow more evenly than the three on the left. On the left, the one closest to the stairs is the healthiest, while the other two do not do so well thanks to the stronger afternoon shadow. Oh, it's hard to say because I keep them cropped so they "grow together" in the middle and stay square at the top and corners. But obviously the two weaker bushes suffer less from the cut because I let them grow out to fill the gaps.

While I was working, her healthier sibling, I imagined, started talking to me. Or whining is more like this …

Hi! What gives?

Nothing, my good man. Only time for your monthly trimming.

But why? I am not doing anything wrong. I just sit here and take care of my own affairs. Do good, do what I should do. And here you come …

Well, please just sit still. Trust me, I have a purpose here.

"Really?" Forgive me for asking, but why doesn't this purpose seem to apply to my lazy, atrophied brothers here? All the time and hardly a scratch. Maybe a nip, a cut. Nothing lost, no pain.

Aren't you happy with how you look? Where are you?

I'm fine. But it is easy. I don't deserve this cutting and trimming.

Do you think you planted yourself in this primo spot?

I never really thought about it. I just want to know why you take so much from me and none of them.

I told you I have a purpose. You can't see what I can see. In fact, you can't see much at all. You are completely rooted. But I've seen everything around you and through you and since you were planted.

But it hurts. I don't like losing things.

Never having at all and never really growing is not a good thing either. I have to give these others special care and attention. I can only hope it brings them to the same level of maturity as you …

Hmmph.

I finished the hedges and went my way, unsure if I had got through. But when I stepped back I saw something nice. I could only hope that those in my care understood, did not despise their discipline, and decided to forego an impractical, joyless comparison.

Intersecting Faith and Life: The next time you feel that others are not as challenged as you or that the Lord is unfairly picking you out, remember that you cannot see all of the Lord's perspectives or goals, not in your life, and especially not in life another. The Lord loves you enough to discipline you, and he knows that you are healthy and have enough green growth to cope with his circumcision.

further reading

John 15: 1
Prune your vineyard

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