Comparisons — we all make them. Have you ever noticed how children seem to boast that anything of theirs is far superior to that of anyone else? Some adults still act this way. Their houses or their cars are bigger or better. They might take pride in better jobs or station in life than others. Even opinions or ideas might be touted as superior.
Gardeners are not exempt from a little friendly competition, whether real or imagined. Most of the time, this competition stays friendly.
In addition to flowers – and as a complement to them – I love rocks and stones. I’m really not a collector as much as an admirer.
I wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between Danburite and quartz. For that matter, I wouldn’t even know what Danburite was, except that it’s named after my home town.
The collection I have started in the planters on the back porch are not valuable, but they hold value to me because most of them were gifts. You may admire them, but you won’t hear me extol their value in monetary terms!
Of course, the green rock Erika brought from Arizona last summer goes nicely with the “Dale’s Strain” heuchera from Robin growing in the planter. Yes, that’s something to talk about!
God tells us that discussion of important topics is a good thing. The Bible is replete with accounts of wise men coming together to sharpen one another’s knowledge and understanding. “As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend” (Proverbs 27:17, NET).
When discussion turns into arguing, and arguing turns into childish name-calling and vulgar insults, that’s just ugly. When people who should know better are doing this, it’s downright discouraging.
If you have been following some of the political races, you may have heard things this past week that would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap when you were a kid.
Let’s take a break from the childish taunts for a moment to ponder a verse that the uninitiated may mistake as a boastful statement.
“For our enemies’ rock is not like our Rock,
as even our enemies concede’” (Deuteronomy 32:31, NET).
The difference between this simple statement of fact and an empty boast is that even the enemies of the Lord admitted its truth. The children of Israel were about to go across the Jordan into the promised land, and Moses had led them with the help of the undeniable power of God. The parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Ten Commandments, and the sustaining of the nation for forty years was noted and feared by the surrounding nations.
My rocks, whether the precious ones in the planters or the plain ones lining my flower beds, are not noteworthy. Not even the boulders in the yellow garden are anything to compare to another gardener’s rocks.
Not so with our God. He stands apart and far above any false god that any would dare to compare with him.
“As for the Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are just.
He is a reliable God who is never unjust,
he is fair and upright” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
This God continued to uphold the nation of Israel until the time of Christ, and now upholds and sustains the spiritual Israel, the church.
The apostle Paul had much to boast about, but instead limited his “bragging rights” to the power of God.
“So that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 1:31).