When I was 10 years old my brother Dan joined the Navy. To my horror, it was then that the gardening duties became my job. I begged with my Dad to not give me this job. I pulled the “I am not a boy card,” I pleaded, please don’t make me do it. Little did I know it was the greatest thing my Dad could have ever done for me. Tending to the yard was a gift. I made it a game. Now I like digging in the dirt and getting my hands dirty. I love it. To this day I prefer yard work over house work. I enjoy the outdoors. I learned to care for the little things and was satisfied in my accomplishments. I discovered that when I rushed or more like plowed through my new duties, just to get the job done left things looking like a mess. I ruined, killed or broke things. My haste sometimes required me to do it again. I learned quickly to do it right to avoid redoing it. As time went on I honed my skills and became meticulous. Attention to detail became apart of my DNA. I learned how to care for things, by cutting away the old, pulling out the dead plants, and planting new ones. I pulled weeds, trimmed bushes, cut the edges and created designs in the grass as I cut it. When I look back I realize that through the trial and errors I learned that when tending to the garden through the process of repetition and practice aIl things grow.
As I read through Romans 11 I instantly was filled with so many thoughts. Some that brought comfort and others that were hard to swallow. I like when people are frank with me or give me their expectations even if it makes it hard to hear. I’m not an on the spot thinker. I need time to process, so that I can respond in kind and not haste. This I know and I am grateful that God is sovereign and by his grace he has made salvation open to us all. God is here for all time, past, present and future. In this chapter the olive tree is used as an example of how we fit in to God’s family. I found comfort that a garden was the setting and a tree was used to describe how we fit into God’s family. Trees for me are a great reference because we can visualize the deep roots, the living tree that grows, blossoms and then bares fruit. We also know that sometimes trees, the branches get diseases. Sometimes with nutrients it can heal itself and sometimes the branch needs to be cut out so as to not spread the disease. Pruning helps to keep the tree from withering and allows it to thrive. In v.17 we are told how we, the gentiles have been grafted into the tree so that we too can received from the rich nourishment from God’s roots. At the same time we are reminded that His chosen were broken off and that that can easily be done to us because we are a branch, not the root. Then in v.20 we discover that the chosen were broken off because of their disbelief. Its hard to hear that if we don’t believe in Christ we too will be broken off just like the original chosen people. My take aways are lean into the Lord and immerse yourself into His word. So that I can continually grow, become deep rooted, and forever keep our place in the family.