Pulling Weeds in Jesus' Name
Signs of spring are exploding in my part of the world right now. Out in my garden, the crocuses are spent, the daffodils have been up for a while, the quince bushes are thickly covered in orange, and new plants are poking up through the soil all around my house. Along with the weeds. Many weeds. Yes, it's spring now. And I have a lot of yard work to do.
Around my neighborhood, I see everyone's landscaping responding in like manner to these warmer days. My neighbors themselves are no exception as spring calls them outdoors. Short-sleeved kids are out on their bikes. Convertible tops are down as folks drive by. Lawn mowers are cranking up, droning along our street and in the distance.
Probably the most obvious sign of spring around my hacienda, however, is the noticeable increase in the numbers of walkers. It's time to get in shape, after all. Time to shed an extra dress size and tighten the belt a notch, I suppose. Swim suit season surely doth approach and nobody wants to get caught hanging on to that extra layer of winter hugging their midsection.
So, they power walk by my house alone or with their dogs, pushing strollers or followed by kids on bikes, with a spouse or a friend. If I'm out, they wave. And I wave back. As I pull weeds.
I recently heard about a group of silver-haired ladies who were on a mission to walk the neighborhoods of their whole city - one of the least churched cities in America, my sister's city, so I'm working from second-hand experience here. This army of grandma warriors walk different streets in their city each day armed with helmets, shields and swords of the spirit, praying for each house as they pass by. They pray, without knowing who lives in each home, for the residents therein; praying that if they do not know Jesus, they would be led straight to Him. Somehow. In a city with more dogs than Christians.
I don't know about y'all, but it's been my experience that hell itself is no match for a spirit-filled grandma! And to have a group of them decked out in the full armor of God, Ephesians 6 style, is a force to be reckoned with indeed. Unbelievers, beware!
On this side of heaven I may never know the full results of this ambulatory prayer team. But I do know there has been a rapid growth in the number of people attending evangelical Bible-believing churches in that city. One such church just opened a few weeks ago and had almost 700 people attend services there two Sundays past. After a few weeks. That's just......crazy! The church still has no offices, no child care, no Sunday Schools or youth programs, no permanent staff to speak of, other than the pastor. The building isn't even finished yet and they're already having to move to two services! Obviously, something is going on there. And that's just one church! There are others popping up with similar stories in that city. And people are meeting Jesus. Maybe some-(silver-haired)-body's prayers are being answered? Maybe?
When I think about what I want for myself - me, personally - my ultimate goal is to live my life according to God's will and get out alive. I want to get to heaven. And take as many people with me as I can. That pretty much sums it up.
When I think about my logistical neighbors and who they are - the power-walkers, the lawn rangers, the dirt diggers, their kids - I wonder if I truly want the same for them - if I truly take Christ's words to heart: "Love you neighbor as yourself." Do I want the same thing for them that I want for myself: heaven? Do I throw on my armor and attack my neighborhood in Jesus' name through prayer? Do I have a heart to see the unchurched, the lost in my community know my friend and savior, Jesus Christ?
I won't be power walking this spring, but maybe I can start by praying for those who walk or drive by my home as I take a stand against the devil's schemes with my fingers stuck in God's dirt, the belt of truth around my midsection, the breastplate of righteousness covering my grimy t-shirt, the gospel of peace over my beat-up gardening shoes, the helmet of salvation atop my ragged straw hat, the shield of faith and sword of the spirit in my gardening-gloved grasp.
While I pull weeds in Jesus' name.