Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Drought in Your Yard?

            I don’t know how long our area has been in drought, but it’s a long time with no rain. Our reservoirs are at record lows. Our community has been told (not asked) to cut back all water use by 20%. Today’s newspaper says that we are still using more water than resources can deliver.
            The impact of the drought at church and our house (the parsonage) has been the shutting off of all irrigation. No lawns are watered and not drip lines water plants. Any watering has to be done by hand before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:30 p.m. when the evaporation rate is lower.
            So Martha has a regular routine of taking care of her garden by hand watering each plant within the proscribed hours. We are fighting to keep our plants alive, but we have let the yard go brown. What was once lush, soft and green, is now brown, hard and cracking. It’s tough to walk on. The brown grass leaves crack off, exposing more and more hard soil. It’s becoming a brutal and embattled landscape…everywhere.
            How many hearts are like our drought-hardened yards? I know spiritual drought when I bump into it, because it’s hard and unyielding. I see anger-hardened hearts too often. The language is of cynicism and sarcasm. The focus is on the faults of everyone around them, especially those in leadership. I talked with a person the other day who is going through seriously tough times and asked him about his own practice of Bible reading. He looked up at me and said it’s been years and years since he read the Bible on his own, and his life showed it. Drought.
            Is the condition we face as pastors more about personal spiritual drought than anything else? We endless review and critique ministries, programs and personnel, but maybe miss the real issue; spiritual drought. Can our worshipers sustain a spiritual life nibbling on little bits of spiritual music, a Facebook quote, a once a month worship service. Don’t get me wrong. These are not bad people. These are good people who are very busy and very active and…not watering their hearts sufficiently.

            I know because I get there too often too quickly. I get busy reading the Bible to “produce” a sermon or a lesson. I neglect alone time with God for appointments with others. I allow days to stretch too long into nights and let the “to do” list grow too long. I neglect the quiet, still, “unproductive” time for agenda-driven tasks that yield quick results. A friend reminded me of the old hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour.” My heart needs the regular rain of God’s Word and Spirit into my dry heart to make it alive and fresh.  


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