Not far from my home is a house that used to be owned by a couple whom were tremendous gardeners. I heard that he worked for a nursery and it was obvious that he and his wife knew what they were doing from the constant display of beautiful flowers blooming each season. I’d pass their house often when I was on one of my long runs or walks.
Anyway, they moved. I didn’t know they had until I noticed something different about their house. The flower gardens were full of weeds. I saw a neighbor and asked if the same people lived there and if they were all right. He told me that they had moved and he had new neighbors. They were not gardeners and neglected the gardens because they simply weren’t interested, nor knew what to do. Each year that went by, the garden looked worse and worse until the weeds overtook and killed most of it. It was so sad. If a picture could ever be painted of neglect and it’s outcome, this was the picture!
God has something to say about neglect. He says we shouldn’t neglect reading His word. It helps us come to know His will, character, and voice to our heart. He also says we shouldn’t neglect gathering together in the church, as the church. This is where as the body of Christ, we learn together, become community together, and strengthen each other’s as we reach the world with the love of Jesus. God says we shouldn’t neglect wise counsel to protect us from our own prideful thinking or stubborn ways. He says we shouldn’t neglect the spiritual gifts—those talents and abilities within us to touch others with His love. His word teaches us that we shouldn’t neglect godly relationships and friendships, knowing that they are a part of His plan to become voices and examples to keep us in check and anchored in living a life for Him. And He with great warning we shouldn’t neglect our salvation—ridding our lives of sinful ways and staying in intimate relationship with purpose-filled lives for Him. He says don’t neglect it because if you do, how will you escape the life and its consequences you were heading toward before Jesus rescued you?
Hebrews 2:3 (The Message Bible) says, “It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation?”
What does neglect look like? Like the picture I painted of the beautiful garden—something beautiful, neglected, taken over by weeds, and almost dying. That’s what neglect does. Our relationship with Jesus could be a beautiful and wonderful relationship but neglect can make it feel dead. Significant relationships can suffer. Your life can start to look like an overgrown weed patch where the beauty is overtaken by the weeds. Neglect comes from the family of lazy, procrastination, and indifference.
The story of Nehemiah is a story of neglect turned to passion. Jerusalem had been torn down and neglected. No one did anything about it until God moved on the heart of two men—Nehemiah and Ezra the priest. They new the neglect could not go on. They prayed for God’s help. God miraculously enabled them. They drew others into their zeal knowing it was the will of God, and they fought passionately for what they new God wanted. Those two men’s prayers and passion led to the stirring of others. They miraculously by God’s help, rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and reestablished the city, temple worship, and the home of the Jews and all in record time despite every tactic of the devil thrown at them to give up. They then made a pledge to God saying, “The people of Israel, including the Levites, are to bring their contributions of grain, new wine and oil to the storerooms where the articles for the sanctuary are kept and where the ministering priests, the gatekeepers and the singers stay. “We will not neglect the house of our God.” (Nehemiah 10:39 (NIV))
Is there neglected areas in your life? Areas that need attention and that God has pointed out to you more than once? If so, what’s the solution? It’s simple. Passionately embrace and love that which you know in your heart is important and good. Meditate on it. Think about why it’s good and important and how by loving it and tending to it will affect you and others. Let that grow in your heart. Before long you’ll find the desire to take action bubbling up in you. Let your first action be to pray and seek God for His grace (His supernatural help) needed to succeed. That grace will show up in two ways. First, your desire to take action will become action! You’ll be on your way. Neglect will be replaced by action! And secondly, His grace will help supply what you need and strengthen you to stick with it in the face of adversity. That was Nehemiah’s story and it can be yours. The grace of God will lead you to action and dismantle neglect. That in turn will result in a new level of joy and thanksgiving to your life that is almost indescribable and will touch others around you! (Whether those people knew it or not, I loved their garden! It inspired me!)
How can we neglect something significant and think it won’t make a difference? Only deception produces that kind of thinking. Know what’s right to do so ask God to strengthen you in your inner man to do it. Then stop neglecting and begin to show passion toward doing that which is good! Make beautiful gardens of the things God deems important to your life. God will help you every step of the way! It’s His will and your future joy!
Matthew 23:23 (NLT) “… do not neglect the more important things.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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