Standing proudly outside my back window is a visual lesson even a non-botanist such as myself can understand. Twining around one stalky plant with large leaves and seasonal flowers is a vine-like weed that can take over your backyard if you let it. (I told you I was no botanist.)
In biology, we learned that two living things so entwined have a win-lose or win-win situation. In other words, my backyard plants are either in a parasitic or symbiotic relationship. Parasites live off their hosts at the host’s peril. In a symbiotic situation, both parties benefit from the intertwined relationship.
As I spent my twenty minutes on my stepper looking out at this situation, I pondered what lessons I could learn about my own life from this picture of nature. I am, after all, entwined with God much like my two plants. But is that relationship symbiotic, or am I just a parasite, taking from God without giving anything back?
How do I increase my own value to God? How did I do it this week? Some of the quick answers that came to me were the too few times I expressed love to others through my words and actions during this week. Also, I have spent time praising God in my prayers this week.
Knowing that loving and helping others, especially strangers, is a sure way to please God is a pretty easy answer to the symbiotic question. Studying the prayers of the Bible, especially the Psalms, also lets us know that God relishes our praise. He may not need it, but He gets something from it. Why, after all, did He create us in the first place, then give us the free will to choose to worship Him?
I know that I am only saved by grace and not through any action that I take other than the action of accepting that grace, but I certainly don’t want to live my days being a parasite to God. I would much rather have a symbiotic relationship.
So, thank you, God, for creating a world so beautiful and reflective of Your wonder, that is even awesome at its most terrifying and destructive moments, and that always manages to offer us glimpses of Your peace. May we believers live in ways that somehow reflect that wonder.