READINGOld Testament: Zechariah 9:9-12, 12:9-11, 13:1 7-9
Psalms: Psalms 24, 29
New Testament: 1 Timothy 6:12-16
Gospel: Matthew 21:12-17
Evening Psalms: Psalms 103
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God…, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords… To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”
(1 Tim. 6:12-16)
Though some people have an idyllic view of gardening, seeing it as sweet communion with the earth, I have always found gardening to be quite a battle. There are always forces that conspire against gardens producing the desired fruit or flowers. It may be too much or too little rain. It may be insect pests or disease. It may be rabbits, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, or groundhogs. As cute as they are, oh how I hate a big fat groundhog in the garden. There have been many years I’ve been tempted to give up.
But then I think of how much Linda enjoys a juicy tomato. If you’ve ever had one, you know there is simply nothing like a homegrown tomato fresh off the vine. And so I persevere, weeding, watering, fertilizing, staking, pinching off diseased leaves, fencing the plants in. With patience and a little good fortune, all that effort will pay off, and there will be tomatoes galore.
In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, Paul tells us to “fight the good fight of faith.” Some folks don’t like that analogy. They think it glorifies violence, and that is something our world cannot afford. Interestingly, Eugene Peterson in his translation (The Message) chooses to render the verse, “Run hard.”
I understand that. But still…it seems to me there is something honest to acknowledging the fact that often life is a struggle and that, to achieve almost anything worth achieving, we are going to have to fight for it. There are forces that work against us. And so whether it is having faith in an often faith-less (and faithless) world or tending a garden, there is a battle that must be fought if we are going to triumph in making our dreams—or better yet, God’s dream for us—a reality.
It will not be easy. But just like eating a delicious red tomato — it will be worth it.