I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection.” Philippians 3:10
Like it or not…it was time. Every spring and summer, my wife and I are blessed to have one of the most beautiful yards on our street. Some people say it is one of the most beautiful yards in town. When we moved to 217 West Poplar Street, it was a blank canvas. There were literally no flowers and no flowering trees. Judy, who has a green thumb, over the years has made our yard into several beautiful gardens. She plants it and it grows.
Well, every fall, as the temperatures fall, some things go to sleep, and some things just die. The perennials go to sleep to be awakened the next spring and the annuals die and will have to be replanted or reseeded. Fall and winter leave a carnage of dead stems, leaves, and blooms and before the perennials can be awakened, last year’s carnage needs to go. There’s where I come in. She is the “make it happen” person and I am the “cleanup the carnage” person. So, every later winter or early spring, I have my work cut out for me.
On the weekends or during the week, I would come home from work and select a section of the yard to cleanup. Using my string trimmer (hey, don’t laugh…it works), my rake, my loppers, and a couple of other tools for good measure, I would whack, cut, trim and rake my way through each flower bed. When I was done, I would have a clean slate for the coming spring. If you saw all this when I was done, it would look pretty empty. You would think, “Nothing is gonna happen there.” But you would be perfectly wrong.
You see, beneath the soil, all those perennials (plants that come back year after year) that have slept all winter, that for all practical purposes seemed dead, are about to spring (no pun intended) back to life. Green sprouts will be pushing up everywhere. Before long what was bare is filled with new life and what is filled with new life will soon be filled with the beautiful blooms of spring and summer. It really is quite amazing.
Well, let me just tell you. For several days, I went out and did my carnage removal thing. And, at least for this guy whose job has him sitting at a desk studying, it was hard work. My arms were tired, my shoulders ached, and I was thoroughly and completely pooped. Somewhere along the journey, I lost my vision. All I knew was I was tired and that there seemed to be no end to the carnage of last fall and winter. But then it hit me, and my focus returned.
It wasn’t just work. It wasn’t just something that had to be done. I was on a mission. I was preparing for…resurrection. My work for those days was work with purpose. As I cleared away the old, I was making way for the new. And because of my faithfulness in late winter or early spring—the resurrection could happen. Already, the yard is being transformed as green sprouts are breaking through the dirt and reminding me that my work was not in vain. It has a purpose.
In a few days, we will be celebrating another resurrection and this one is the biggie. We are going to celebrate the fact that two thousand years ago, a man—the God-man—willingly died on a Roman cross to pay the price for the sins of the entire world. That day the sin for every man, woman, and child was atoned for, making it possible for every person who asks to have forgiveness, hope for this life and the life to come. Anyone who is willing to believe and choose to follow Him can have the privilege of calling God—Father. But Jesus didn’t just die.
See, anyone can die on a cross and claim anything. Jesus didn’t stay dead—He physically and completely came back to life. He resurrected and one of the reasons He did was to prove that He was who He said He was and did what He said He would do. His death shouted, “I love you” and His resurrection shouted, “I am victorious over death.” Wow. So, here’s the deal.
Remember I mentioned in a few days we were going to celebrate the “biggie?” Well, this is what I was talking about. And these days are like my time preparing the gardens for their resurrection. These days are a time for us to prepare our hearts and minds for the big event—Resurrection Sunday. The more I prepare the gardens for their resurrection, the bigger the celebration of life as they sprout and bloom. And guess what? It’s true with Easter. The more we prepare, the bigger the celebration. Like Paul, said, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know [to celebrate] the power of His resurrection.”
Each time I went to work in the yard I had to make a conscious decision to prepare the gardens for resurrection. Wanting to, longing to, intending to, just wouldn’t cut the mustard. It is time for us to prepare to celebrate His resurrection. Wanting to, longing to, intending to, just won’t get the job done. There is a reason to celebrate—because He lives—we too can live. So, start today, get ready for the biggie—the resurrection of Jesus. Need help in preparing? Not sure how? No problem. The One who made it all possible is a great party planner. Just ask Him. He’s got that, too. Bro. Dewayne