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Painting Lawns or Growing Trees?

When I surrender the remote there is a 95% chance my wife will tune to HGTV. “Flip This House,” “House Hunters,” “House Hunters International,” “My First Place:” I’ve seen them all and enjoy them more than I’d like to admit. A core strategy when a HGTV program involves selling the property is making certain it is pristine for the open house. Homes are staged with elaborate furniture and landscaped to shine.

On one episode, however, the deadline came before the yard was close to complete. The desperate owner did something I had never imagined: he painted the dirt and dying grass green. They sprayed down a latex lawn.

I love transformation. Seeing a run-down home made beautiful is nice but witnessing lives made new in Jesus in unbelievable. Seeing churches grow in the Word and ways of our Savior stirs my soul.

But when it comes to ministry, change seldom fits into a 30-minute time slot.

We wish it would. We may attempt to force rapid change in our own strength. Perhaps we are just painting the lawn.

The picture of maturity in Scripture is not a shiny yard with a wet paint sign, it looks like this:

deeptreerootsPsalm 1:1-4

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

A tree that can weather a storm does not sprout in a half-an-hour. It sets its roots over months not minutes, over decades not days.

The power to change your life, change your ministry, change your church is found in the mighty and able Name of Jesus. He can lift us up in an instant from death to life, but he invites us into a slow journey of growth and enduring faith.  Maturity will not happen in one Sunday, at one conference, or in a moment. You can make things better in a hurry but to go deeper takes time.

Ask yourself today: am I painting lawns or growing trees?


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