Caesar's brother

She has done what she could

What is it about gardening that causes the fun to often descend into a guilt trip? The dreams that seemed so tangible in February and March taunt us as unfinished projects in June and July.

Maybe the same is true with any other activity, but dust bunnies don’t grow and multiply as readily as ragweeds do in the garden. Nor, for that matter, like the real bunnies that nibble the blueberries and tomatoes.

The self-talk can be pretty brutal. “Why is that rabbit wire still rolled up in the garage instead of surrounding the blueberries? Much good it’s doing there!”

“Would it have killed you to take five minutes (the reality here is thirty minutes) to hoe down that ragweed while it was still small?”

I’ve had some pretty mean bosses in my career. But working for myself isn’t always any easier. I tend to push myself to get things done, and to get them done the way I wanted it done.

When that doesn’t happen — which is often — I berate myself for my failures. Sure, that’s human nature. If we don’t push ourselves, we won’t be as productive as we need to be.

Maybe we should take a lesson from Jesus in the way he treated people who failed to live up to their potential. He was kind and compassionate. Many would like to say he was not judgmental, but that would not be accurate. Jesus IS our judge, and we should never forget that.

This is why he is such a perfect role model for us as we judge ourselves. Since he is perfect, and therefore a perfect judge, his examples of compassion and love for those who are imperfect is such a comfort.

We know our failings don’t precipitate the type of railing judgment from him that we often bring down upon our own heads.

Parents often have these feelings about children who have abandoned the principles in which they were raised. You’ve met these people too, no doubt.

These are the parents whose apples really did fall far from the tree. These children are the ones for whom we pray that the “when he is old” in Proverbs 22:6 doesn’t mean “when they are finally in the nursing home and they can’t cause much trouble.”

Growing plants is risky, but growing children is riskier!

For these cases, consider Jesus’ words; “She has done what she could” (Mark 14:8, NASB).

This was a woman who was criticized for anointing Jesus with very expensive perfume from an alabaster jar. Jesus saw the act for what it was, a gesture of love from a woman who had something of value and gave it willingly.

We often intone that the best things in life are those that cost little. In this case, the jar of nard cost a lot, and yet Jesus said she had done “what she could.” Many people are not blessed with talent for – for instance – mission work, but give generously to those willing to go.

We must never judge one another about the service and gifts we present to our Maker.

Neither must we judge ourselves on our failure to deliver the perfect gift to God. Our children are to be trained to love and serve God, but they do have their own responsibility to take that teaching and grow by it.

The garden isn’t perfect, by far. The curse of Adam has never been revoked, and the thorns and thistles keep growing!

Have we done what we could? If so, rest in the knowledge that it is enough for Jesus.

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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