Sunday, July 26, 2015

Potato Bug Patrol

The sun was shining, the chickens were clucking, the horses were munching on hay and the clouds above were puffy as they floated high above.  There was a slight breeze cooling us as we dug in the dirt, pulled weeds and marveled at God’s handiwork.  There was life sustaining food growing beneath and above the soil.

Let me explain:  Charlie headed off to his annual canoe trip in Canada, so I headed out to the home/farm of friends who live on a peninsula (within an hour’s drive) that juts out into Lake Michigan.  Stonington Peninsula is a beautiful piece of real estate not discovered by the world in general and that is fine with those of us who live up here!  (Not that we don’t want to share….but then again, maybe we don’t want to share!)

I spent several days with my friend.  Her husband and son were off on their own adventure so it clearly was time for us womenfolk to take advantage of the kind of schedule women enjoy….eat when we are hungry, work in the garden, take gardening breaks to go kayaking, go blueberry picking, watch chick flicks at night and have endless conversation/fellowship.  

One of the jobs that became mine (and I really believe I now have bragging rights)….was potato bug patrol!  My friend asked me to walk among the rows of potato plants that grew abundantly with their scraggly branches reaching upward.  Because she uses no pesticides, the potato bugs have to be picked off…individually …by hand, and dropped into a bucket of water so they will cease to breathe (having no more access to the destruction of any potato plant)!

I’d like to share with you some observations I made while on “potato bug duty”:

1.     Potato bugs are bright, beautiful and colorful and they catch your eye.

2.     Sometimes, though, they are hidden inside of curled up leaves and on the undersides of leaves.  Whenever I saw one on the top of the plant, I learned to look in those “hidden” places.

3.     Potato bugs look a bit like lady bugs, and lady bugs are harmless.  I had to look carefully so I wasn’t fooled.

4.     If left unchecked, they multiply, munch away on the leaves and destroy the plant.

SIN is like those potato bugs and find a correlation between “potato bug patrol” and “sin patrol”:

1.      Sin is alluring, sometimes appearing to be bright and beautiful.  However, when I am determined to find sin in my heart, I can root it out through the power of the Holy Spirit living in me. 

2.     Like those potato bugs, sin can hide among the curled up leaves or hidden places in my heart.

3.     Often sin looks harmless and innocent, much like those potato bugs that resemble lady bugs.  How easy it is to rationalize sin, transforming it into something that appears harmless.

4.     If sin is left unchecked in my heart and life….undiscovered or without repentance, it will ultimately destroy my witness, my effectiveness as a follower of Christ and possibly damage important human relationships.

In the 15th. Chapter of the book of John, God uses the grapevine in a vineyard to help us understand a deeper lesson.  Jesus is the true vine.  When we confess Jesus as Lord of our lives, we are attached to the vine…to Him.  Because of that attachment, we have the capacity to bring His light into the world in unfathomable ways.  But to have the power to live the Christian life, we MUST stay attached to that vine (Jesus). 

 Sin (like the destructive potato bug) damages that connection (picture a healthy vine versus a withered, brown vine) and in John 15:2 we are told, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

 I don’t know about you but I want to be on “potato bug/sin” patrol every day.  I want the “potatoes” (or whatever fruit God intends for me) to not only grow but produce a HUGE, ABUNDENT harvest through my life and ministy!

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