We live in a culture that seems to believe that tweets and hashtags will revolutionize society. I’m just old fashioned enough to believe that it may come a little differently. In fact, it in an age of social unrest and societal upheaval, the most revolutionary thing we can do might be to tend our own gardens by loving God and our neighbors and investing in healthy families.
This morning, I sat on my porch before there was enough daylight to read my Bible. It is unseasonably cool. 65 degrees and breezy. There, I sat with my coffee and my dog enjoying the beauty of creation. The birds sang. The dog ran. The porch lights behind me flickered just a bit.
Then, I remembered. There are race riots rocking our country and COVID-19 is rising rapidly in my own state.
I was struck by the strangeness of the situation. Around me people are being rocked by tragedy, and yet, I was sitting enjoying a small slice of paradise.
I read my Bible and I prayed. I prayed for my neighbors and for my world. But as I did, I was also reminded that I can’t change the whole world everyday. Every single day doesn’t extend me an opportunity to impact the whole world. But every single day I have an opportunity to impact the five other people who live in my house.
I can tend my own garden.
With so much chaos in the world around us, it can be easy to be paralyzed by the complexity of the situation. The Israelites were surely tempted to be overwhelmed by the complexity of their captivity in Babylon. Yet, when Jeremiah wrote to them, his encouragement was,
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.