A Nuisance Turned Blessing

I was fed-up! I was ready to get the pruning shears out of the shed and chop down the blackberry bush. It had become a huge nuisance.

Earlier this spring, Mac would consistently bite at the branches that were starting to grow. He was incessant at times. He was only about three months old, but he was quick. It became a game of him biting the branch, me trying to stop him, and then him deking around me to bite another one. The bush was just big enough that I couldn’t reach over it to grab him. Eventually, he lost interest and the bush started to grow …and grow. The bush grew to a decent size and looked healthier than the previous year. It had good size stocks and vibrant green leaves.

It’s like God used Mac to prune the bush because we didn’t know we needed to. Thanks to him, the bush was thriving.

Summer came and the blackberry bush began to blossom. It was fascinating to watch the transition between the flower blossom and the berries take place. God’s creativity and detail in plant life is so unique.

It seemed to take a while though. Our raspberries had finished weeks earlier so I wondered if it would actually produce any fruit. This was the first season for fruit to come.

The blossoms eventually did turn into fruit. Michael and I were excited about the generous harvest. That was until Mac saw us pluck a few berries.

He thought it was all free for the taking. There I was again on guard of our precious fruit every time I let Mac out. Would this ever end? I let him out one day and decided to stay inside to get some work done. I was by the window but he was out of my view. Suddenly, I heard heavy breathing and clomping. I looked out to see Mac rip out a full stock of the blackberry bush and victoriously run around the backyard with it. Then he proceeded to tear it to shreds. He returned to the bush for another one when I came running out.

As I walked around the backyard, I saw little clumps of berries everywhere. There were some still on the bush, but I didn’t dare pick any ripe ones for fear he’d start all over again. I lured him close and then grabbed him to bring him inside.

What was I going to do? I was so frustrated. It was our first harvest of this plant. It originally had lots of fruit on it, but half of it was now scattered throughout the yard. Plus, every time I’d bring Mac out, I needed to be on guard. That can get old quite quickly. I was ready to get the pruning shears and chop it all down, but decided to cool off for a moment. I didn’t really want to lose the ones that were still ripening.

I came in to write another blog post. I looked out the window while processing my next thought. I noticed approximately 10 robins throughout the backyard pecking at the ground, with one bird beside the blackberry bush. That’s when I had a thought came from the Lord.

“Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” Matthew 6:26

The Lord previously used Mac to prune the bush. Now He was using him to feed the robins. It was yet another way the Lord was teaching me about trusting Him and being generous.

The Lord will provide for all of your needs. It may not be in a conventional way, but you can trust Him to do it.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, “… The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.”

Generosity is evidence of your trust in God to provide. The more you learn to “sow generously,” the more you’ll see God provide for your needs and multiply what you’ve given so that you can turn around and continue to give more.

You may have heard the saying that generosity can be given in the form of your time, talents, and/treasures.

Time refers to serving the Lord by helping others. This could be as simple as sacrificing some “me time” and phoning a friend.

Talents refers to using the spiritual gifts you’ve been given by God. Did He equip you with the gifts of teaching, administration, mercy, helping others/hospitality, generosity, etc? Using the gifts you’ve been given will help you become stronger in them, producing more quality work for the Lord.

Treasures refers to your money and material goods. You can pay for someone’s meal, buy someone a gift, groceries, or a car for a single mother.

The fun thing about each of these categories is that you can be boundlessly creative. There are so many ways you can be generous that it produces more creativity and more generosity as you go. The more you sow, the greater the harvest will be.

The Lord used Mac to teach me a simple, yet profound lesson. I definitely need to grow in more patience and less anger. And I can use the simplest things to be generous to others. I may not see all of the puzzle pieces of what God’s doing, but I can trust Him, follow His lead, and appreciate even the simplest nudges of giving what I have to serve Him. He will give me everything I need to do every good work for Him and for His glory. That’s a promise of God, which means that He will do the same for you too!

As I finish writing this, a squirrel was eating a ripe blackberry from the bush. “Lord, Thank You for your patience and for being so very generous to me, so that I can give to others, including the birds and the squirrels.”

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