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June 24, 2021

Doug Creamer column: Garden pests

By Doug Creamer

I looked out the window at my vegetable garden the other morning, enjoying all the seedlings that were growing and producing their first leaves. Joy flooded my soul. I breathed in peace. But that peace suddenly evaporated at the sight of a rabbit in my garden. He was eating my precious vegetables.

I ran outside and tried to scare him. He froze. I was close enough to pet him before he moved; he didn’t want to leave the breakfast table. I chased him back into the woods. There was a little damage, but I thought we would be alright.

One evening my wife looked out the window and saw three small bunnies jumping and playing in my garden. Off I ran to chase them away. One other evening I saw the cutest little baby bunny in the yard eating clover. I walked over and explained to the bunny he was allowed to eat all the clover he wanted, but he better stay out of the garden. He was a good bunny.

I put some fences up around my vegetable gardens last year, which helped keep the deer out of the garden. I know they visit the yard, as they nibble other things and leave some little presents in the grass for me. The squirrels aren’t deterred by the fences. They can crawl over or under them.

While there are some pests in the garden, there are also some good bugs and critters in the garden. I never chase a ladybug away because they eat bad insects. We are all dependent on bees or we wouldn’t get any fruits or vegetables. Butterflies, besides being beautiful, also help to pollenate plants. Even the neighborhood bat helps to keep the mosquito population down.

I have been teaching my Chinese students about the benefit of worms. They do a lot of work in the garden to help loosen the soil, and create great fertilizer. I once had a friend tell me I was like a worm in his life. I was quite offended by his comment, but he said that he meant it as a compliment. He said that I helped him go through the tough places in his life and I helped to break up the fallow ground. I jokingly told him that I would prefer to be called a roto-tiller, it sounded better and stronger.

If we think of our lives like vegetable gardens it might help us understand the dynamics of our spiritual walks. Being in fellowship with our brothers and sisters is like having the good bugs in the garden. They will help us break up fallow ground. They won’t let us be lazy. They will encourage us to be fruitful and productive in our lives. Probably most importantly, they can help us get plugged in to where we can serve in the kingdom.

There are many bugs and pests that can keep us from being productive in our Christian walk. We all know that sin keeps us out of God’s presence and makes us unproductive. We all also know the solution. We have to confess our sins and turn away … repent. I believe that sin is not the major thing that keeps us unproductive.

It’s all the things that distract us and keep us from being about the kingdom business. Many of the things are not bad or sinful things. Watching TV is great and relaxing, but sometimes we keep watching instead of doing kingdom business. Social media is fun and helps us keep up with family and friends, but it can also be a huge time waster. Exercising is very important for the physical body, but some people will spend hours on workouts and never lift the cover of their Bibles.

There is always yardwork and housework that needs to be done. We will never be done with either one. They have to get done, but we can use them as an excuse to keep us from doing kingdom business. It’s important to do good deeds and help others, but we need to ask God what he wants us to do for others.

I want to encourage you to honestly evaluate how you are spending your time. It’s not a guilt trip. There are so many pests that can pull you away from the purposes and plans of God. Ask God what’s on his priority list for you today. Do that first and you will have a more fulfilling day. God wants you strong, fruitful and productive in all areas of your life. Make choices to spend time with him and to serve him, then you will produce a harvest for him.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or .

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