A Lesson from Leaves

I am one of those people who enjoys seeing the leaves change colors.

       I am one of those people who enjoys seeing the leaves change colors. I don’t mind the colder weather that it forecasts; in fact, I love it. I love snow, heavy blankets, warm chili and — although I shouldn’t partake — hot chocolate. The fall leaves signal the point of transition. The reds and the yellows in my yard stick out amongst the other dull brown leaves and withering grass. Once they fall, the various colors have always reminded me even the of the colorful sugary cereal I would enjoy as a child. As much as I love seeing them, getting rid of them is still a chore.

           Cleaning up leaves is easier than it once was. There is less raking when you have a leaf blower, and the final product takes up less space when that blower also doubles as a mulcher. I was using mine recently, while my son followed in my footsteps and raked away. Our eyes met when I blew a large amount towards his little pile to combine with his. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and placed his palms upward. I could almost hear him ask, “What’s the point?”

           It may be inefficient, but I tasked my son with raking, even with a leaf blower available. He may have been a little jealous, but he doesn’t have the strength to hold the leaf blower for long. I could have done the whole yard without him, using the superior technology and my more developed strength. When it comes to raw data, he was simply inefficient, compared to what I was able to do, but that wasn’t the point.

           The reason my son was using a rake was not because it was the best way to complete the task. It wasn’t about the task; it was about who I want him to be, not just what I wanted him to do. I wanted him to work with me, not apart from me. I wanted him to learn and develop his ability to work outside, and even work through something that is “boring.” No screens, no music in our ears, just a task that needs to be completed. He will face many similar tasks like that in life. He will get stronger. I was able to give him a preview of that with a few minutes of the leaf blower. His arms got tired quickly, but he was encouraged that he could grow into it. During the raking itself, his mind was on completing a chore for a small amount of money and a short-term reward. My mind was on training him to be faithful.

           When God calls us to follow him, to comfort one another, to serve one another, and to reach out into the community as ambassadors, He doesn’t assign us the task because of how effective we are. He also doesn’t send us out alone. He doesn’t need us to compare our efforts with others, and He knows that much of the work is endless, just like I knew that more leaves would fall. Stay faithful to His instructions; He knows what he is doing with you.

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…” (NASB 95)