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Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

Gardening is not really new to me, but on a large scale it is. When you till up the soil in the spring and plant it, all you have to do is maintain it. It will usually do fine. The fall, however, is another story. The garden is dominated by all kinds of bugs.

After I had planted some of my fall crops, one of my neighbors stopped by and warned me that I must dust the leaves regularly. Now, I had encountered bugs before, but not like this. Following his advice, I waited until my peas were up a few days and dusted them carefully. A few days later my butter beans came up in the small garden. “I’ll get around to it,” I thought. A week later I went back to the butter beans. There were so many holes in the leaves it looked like someone had walked back and forth over them with golf shoes on. There were barely more than the support stems left to the leaves. Quickly I got the dust and made a generous application. That very afternoon I could have picked up enough dead bugs to make bug stew.

Since this happened, I keep a close watch on the plants. If I see a bug, out comes the dust. I know now, if I don’t deal with them when I see them, they will destroy my crop.

For years I have been fascinated by “crop duster” airplanes. Sometimes I’ll pull off on to the side of the road to watch these bug warriors rise up in the air and dive down above the crops to spray any pesky varmint that decided to munch on the plants. These warriors fight loss and destruction.

It’s not hard to understand why it is necessary to maintain a crop, to dust for the bugs, and to watch for the enemies of produce. Most of the time we take more pains with our gardens or our flowers, than we do with our own lives.

Jesus constantly encouraged the disciples to “beware.” We need to be “watchers” of our own lives and the lives of those around us. I’m thankful that my neighbors were kind enough to stop for a moment and inform me of the impending doom to my garden. They knew to warn me, because they were aware of what happens in their own fields, and they cared enough to prevent loss in mine.

“Restore them gently,” Paul said. We should never become so judgmental that we spend our lives condemning other people. It is not our business to judge. That still belongs to God. It is not my place to let my life lie in shambles while trying to judge and correct everyone else. It is my function to watch out for the bugs in my life and gently remind others that the same problems I have can overtake them if they are not prepared.

Our lives are not about dictating. They are about sharing. It is our responsibility to share our experiences, share our knowledge and lend a hand to help whenever we can.

I would be a terrible advice giver if I told someone that they needed to rid their garden of bugs while mine was being devoured with the same pest. The old saying, “Sweep around your own door before trying to sweep around mine”, is more profound than we might think.

We must be a people who are on the watch for things that are trying to destroy our lives. A watchman must speak out. He must speak up. But he must never judge the heart of another of God’s children. When there is no judgement on a person’s life, then there can be gratitude.

I’m grateful that my neighbors told me about the bugs. I’ll bet that they knew what could and would happen because they had been there before.

Watch for the bugs in your life… and do something about them.