I’m straying from my usual farm antics today into a more serious realm. I hope you will take the time to read and think about what I am going to share.
Dictionary.com, in two of it’s definitions for redeemed, defines the word as “to obtain the release or restoration of, as from captivity, by paying a ransom” and “to deliver from sin and its consequences by means of a sacrifice offered for the sinner.” What does a redeemed person look like? Funny you should ask. My distorted human view of a redeemed person has certainly grown and evolved over the course of my lifetime.
As a young, raised-in-the-church Christian, my mental picture of redeemed souls involved good behavior (you don’t drink, you don’t smoke, you don’t swear…). These pious redeemed souls also were dressed properly on Sunday for worship. These souls knew their Bible references, knew their hymns, and knew how to act in church. These redeemed souls were the epitome of virtue and Christian values.
As time advanced, I have come to understand that a redeemed soul is messy – not always dressed to perfection, not always behaving perfectly, someone who bears the scars of a life before Jesus. What does a redeemed person look like? It is the laborer who struggles with addiction but has placed his trust in Christ to purchase his redemption. It is the lonely young mother with children that struggles each day to find meaning in a society that tells her she should be climbing the corporate ladder – the young mother who realizes Jesus brings fulfillment to her service to her family. It is the ex-con that had to be brought to his lowest point to look up to the cross for eternal forgiveness – who bears the marks of his previous life visibly on his skin for all to see. It is the child with a tender heart that heeds the call of the Savior at a young age. It is the abused and abandoned that find healing in the arms of Jesus. It is the millennial that seems to have it all put together and figured out – only to realize that Christ is the answer to life’s biggest questions. It is all of these and more. You see, there is no cookie-cutter picture of what a redeemed soul looks like. Every story of redemption looks different, acts different, and grows at a different rate. The true test of a redeemed soul is that there is growth, no matter how small or slow.
If we look again at the definition of the word redeemed, we find that Jesus purchased each person that places their trust in Him alone for salvation. He walked this earth among the destitute, the broken, the sinners – seeking those whom He could free from the captivity of sin.
Have you allowed Jesus Christ to purchase your eternal freedom?
May Day traditionally marked the return of spring. Through the years, the celebrations have changed and morphed until it now passes, in most cases, as just a day on the calendar. While I have always thought the celebration of May Day was quaint and nice, I have never actually participated in the more traditional celebrations – maypoles and leaving flowers on a neighbor’s doorstep. My May Day celebration was a more visceral and practical celebration on our farm.
The day began as usual with chores – of which I shall not bore you with another run-down of feeding animals – breakfast, Bible reading, and prayer followed by homeschooling. We always “do” our homeschool first because if we become involved in other pursuits, well…
After finishing up our school work and having leftovers for lunch, I headed out to the garden. I had a nice crop of weeds taking over the vegetable beds – and I needed to remove the volunteers before planting what I want to grow. The weather was almost perfect for me – cool, cloudy, and breezy. I prefer that kind of weather when working outside. Cool means I don’t sweat like a hog – which by-the-way, do not sweat; they roll in the mud to keep cool. Cloudy means I do not look like a lobster with goosebumps by the time I am done gardening – I’m sensitive to the sun and end up with an itchy, bumpy rash when I am sunburned. Breezy means natural bug control – I hate bugs. So my day was shaping up quite nicely. I blew through most of the garden this afternoon making it look pretty presentable and ready for planting. Hubby was kind enough to dump several loads of composted manure into the finished beds – so now begins the turning and mixing in of dirt and compost to make a most amazing canvas for vegetable and herbs.
After dumping the weeds in our brush pile, I completed afternoon chores – complete with calf time while momma was eating her grain. Sammy is so silky soft and eager for scratches behind his ears – and then jumpy and nervous that someone besides momma is touching him. After momma was done, I turned my bucket over and sat in the pasture watching momma and baby grazing contentedly. I feel sometimes that I could sit all day watching the farm animals – but there are many other things pulling at me that prevent such a luxury as lounging in a field all day.
As I reflect on the day, I am thinking of spiritual connections between gardening and our lives. I have shared before how my main crop tends to be weeds. I can grow them bigger and better than any flower or vegetable. As I was pulling weeds today, I thought how weeds in the garden are a picture of sin in our lives – weeds, like sins, start out small and do not seem harmful. We can overlook them until they take a firm root in the fertile soil of our lives. Weeds with deep roots- deeper than we can dig out- are like unchecked sin in our lives. It takes root and grows, snuffing out the good fruit that should be in our lives. Weeds, like sin, take over until all that is left is ugliness and an uncontrolled life. It takes the gentle hands of the Master Gardener to dig deeply into the soil of our hearts, loosening the fingers of sin until we are free from the ugliness of it. The Master Gardener cleans up the garden of our soul so that real fruit can grow and thrive in the rich soil of our hearts.
It was a great day.