Pastor's Pen

Keeping up with “Leaf Removal”

As September turns into October we expect the temperatures to begin dropping a bit, perhaps even feeling a little chilly in the early mornings. And at our home, the leaves have already begun to fall . . . by the hundreds. We have a lot of trees. Trees that drop their leaves early, late, and everywhere in between.

Homeowners who have a lot of leaves have decisions to make about the best way to rid their yard of leaves. One option is to wait until all the leaves drop and then blow, rake, mulch, etc., in one mighty effort. If I tried that, we would be knee deep in leaves in our yard and driveway before we reached the middle of October. So, I try to stay on top of leaf removal by working on the leaves at least once a week, if not twice.

We have a lot of leaves to remove, but I can manage it if I just keep at it. That’s kind of like following Jesus. Sometimes we find that we can put the teachings of Jesus into action in our lives and truly enjoy being on mission with Him. At other times, it seems like following Jesus is just about the hardest thing we could do! What makes the difference? Leaves. Well, not literally, but just as leaves will fall, we know that in our lives there are times when we allow ourselves to be distracted by the good (or not so good) things of life and forget that the best thing in life is to follow Jesus. Sometimes we let our sinful nature rule our lives, creating a pile of “leaves” that needs to be raked out of our lives.

So, we have a choice, we can put off seeking renewal, cleansing of sin, and getting rid of those “good things” that get in the way of the best until they are like knee-high piles of leaves that we can no longer ignore. Then it takes a mighty effort of prayer and repentance to get us back where we really want to be in terms of following Jesus. Or, we can examine our lives on a more regular basis, seeking to “rakes the leaves” out of our lives before they build up into giant piles that are so hard to overcome.

One of the Christian habits, or disciplines, that helps me to examine my life on a regular basis, is celebrating the Lord’s Supper at least once a month. Some churches serve Communion once every three months, others include Communion in every service. Some very large churches may have Communion twice a year: on Christmas Eve and on Good Friday. I find following Paul’s command that we examine ourselves before receiving the Lord’s Supper helps me keep the “leaves” somewhat manageable in my life. Perhaps as you worship on the first Sunday in October you will examine your mind, heart, and life as a way of preparing yourself for the cleansing and renewal that can only come from the One who gave His body and blood for us. Perhaps you will discover that being in communion with Jesus can help rake the leaves out of your life, too.

~Pastor Jeff Lowe