Hedges and Fences
Donna, my wife, and I recently moved into a small flat. We have been married for three years and in all that time we had never had a home of our own. We had lived our whole lives as missionaries with no home and no possessions. We travel a lot, all over world but had been praying for our own space for a long time. God provided a small flat in our little village where we could finally have a two bedroom home and we were overjoyed.
The flat had a little garden in front and at back of house and suited us fine. The house was in varying stages of disrepair and we wondered how much time and money we should spend on fixing it up as we were just renting. In some ways I think it was indicative of how we as Christians are unsure of how involved in world we should be since we are “just passing through”. We relinquish our duty as Christians not willing to engage with world because we don’t think that it is worth it! All while disregarding one verse we all know by heart (For God loved world so much that He gave His one and only begotten son… how much more can you invest, than to die for ones you love?) But that is another story and I could possibly write chapters on it, but we’ll leave that for another day.
On that note, we realised that we had a lot of work to do on little place. We came home from office and spent every evening cleaning until midnight as it was such a mess! As I said before we had no furniture or any worldly possessions so we had an empty house to fill and we would have to, over next six months, trust God to fill it with everything we needed!
We would need appliances, cutlery and plates, a sitting room suite, tables, a bed, cupboards, drawers and wardrobes. We also needed to get into garden which was looking like a jungle! I remember how exhausted I felt coming home from work each day and seeing all work we still had to do.
I also used to borrow garden equipment from a neighbour. I distinctly remember first time I cut hugely overgrown hedge. The neighbours all noticed and commented on change. The elderly neighbour upstairs was very grateful too. It was amazing how encouraged neighbourhood was that someone had moved in and was actually looking after property and taking time to look after garden.
I realised that pruning hedges makes people stand up and take notice. If people in my neighbourhood are touched by fact that I cut my hedge, how much more is world touched by Christ in me on a daily basis through my life. This hedge was a witness in neighbourhood and was in complete contrast to previous tenants way of thinking. People noticed and appreciated effort we made to make our home inviting.
In this small way I realised that people, like children, notice smallest detail of our lives and can be affected by it both positively and negatively. We have lived in this little flat for seven months now and recently new neighbours moved in to take place of our elderly friend upstairs, as she went to a home where she can be better cared for. These new neighbours have an effect on us too. They are very loud and constantly fight and scream obsenitys at each other. It has been a loud and hard lesson to learn, but how we live really has an effect on world we live in and people take notice!