Reading: Proverbs 8:12-17
One breezy Saturday morning, Maria arrived at the home of her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Ray. The Rays were special friends of hers from church. They liked having Maria at their home. Maria enjoyed helping them, especially when the work involved their beautiful garden. Today Maria had brought her gardening tools. She wore a gardening apron and a wide-brimmed hat. Mr. Ray also had an apron, hat, and tools.
Together, Mr. Ray and Maria knelt in the garden pulling weeds. Mr. Ray liked to sing hymns as they worked. Every time Maria visited, she learned a new hymn. She also learned other things, as well.
“You know, Maria,” said Mr. Ray in his kind voice, “being a child of God is a lot like being a gardener.”
“Really?” asked Maria.
“Yep,” said Mr. Ray. He pointed at the ground before them. “To be a good gardener, it’s not enough to love plants. You also have to hate weeds. Do you know why?”
“Yes,” Maria replied, “because if you don’t hate weeds, then you won’t pull them out. And if you don’t pull them out, they’ll take over the garden.”
“You’re right! And if they take over your garden, then all your own plants won’t get the water and food they need to grow. Eventually, they’ll die. Now, how is that like being a good follower of Christ?”
Maria thought for a minute as she dug gently around the plants and loosened the weeds that grew in the ground before her. Loosening them helped make them easier to pull. After a few minutes, she answered, “I think you mean that if I don’t hate sin, it will take over my life, just like a weed.”
“That’s correct. It’s important to hate evil, just as God hates evil, because it’s so damaging to our souls. Even a small bad habit can grow to be a terrible sin. It’s better to stop sin when it first happens, before it takes over. But this can only be done if we know God’s Word and we are humble and willing to use it in our lives. That is why God wants us to grow wise. He gave us many good Bible verses, like the Proverbs, so that we could be wise and good.”
“I do want to be wise and good, Mr. Ray,” said Maria earnestly.
“I know you do, my child. God says that those who are wise and good are pleasing to Him. He loves all men, from the richest king to the poorest servant, and any who seek Him, fear Him, and hate evil, will be blessed.”
For Further Study:
- Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven sins that God hates. Are there some others that you can think of that you should hate? Try to think specifically of bad habits that YOU are trying to give up so that you could serve God better. Can you pray about learning how to hate these things, so that you do not sin, and so that you can be more useful to God? Finish this phrase: “There are six things that (your name) hates; yes, seven things which are an abomination to him/her:…..”