Early this morning, I was walking about my yard distracted from any beauty by my own task list and perceptions of what makes my yard attractive. All I saw for a long time was tall grass that needed mowed, weeds strewn in among the grass that needed to be sprayed, barren places among the blades – lingering evidence of the severe drought – that needed reseeded, weeds in sidewalk cracks and dirty lawn furniture. Over-whelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done, I prioritized the tasks in my head, decided I would start with the flower beds and sidewalks first, and then began to earnestly remove the weeds from among the flowers and from between the cracks in the patio on the east side of my porch.
I worked diligently for awhile focused only on the task and my goal to remove all unwanted growth from the area. While I worked, I was thinking about how often I had to pull weeds, and wondered at how quickly they reappeared. I had even used a spray between the brick pavers that was supposed to control the re-growth for up to four months, but although there were not as many weeds as there were last time I tackled this task there were still new weeds. Suddenly I was distracted from my work by a humming bird flitting among my four-o-clocks less than two feet from me. As I watched the little bird, I gradually became aware of the beauty that surrounds my little east patio – one of my favorite sitting spots and I thought how sad it was that I had been working so diligently, focused on the weeds, that I almost missed the flowers that were blooming there.
I wonder how often we miss the beauty of grace and its evident work in our lives because we are focused on those lingering sins and character flaws that we are continually working to remove. Of course, we should and we must be continually working to remove sin that still tries to take root in our heart – our love for our Savior and our gratitude for grace compels us to do so – but I think sometimes we can become so focused on the task of improving ourselves that we forget to delight in our salvation. We forget that Christ died once for all sin – past, present, and future – it is a finished work. And so in this drive toward perfection that moves us forward; in this long, slow, process of sanctification by which Christ refines and molds us in his image; let us not become so focused on the flaws that remain that we forget who actually does the work and we miss the beauty of grace that envelopes us even in our imperfections.