Work for the Night is Coming by Kathy Coleman
I haven't seen a rose blooming recently, but when I was working in the yard yesterday I saw snapdragons still blooming, and I saw some budded geraniums that had survived the snow last week. I still had lots of red salvia blooming until the day of the snow, and when I saw the salvia happily blooming in the face of winter, I thought of "The Last Rose of Summer." Such a sad song! In the song the rose is sad to be all alone, but I prefer to think my salvia didn't notice they were among the last to bloom, or know what was about to happen to them... It's better to live each day well, and not dread what lies ahead...

After the snow, temperatures rebounded by Friday. The sun shone, and the wind was still. I was thankful (among many other things) for another chance to work outdoors on a beautiful day before winter! I mowed, raked, chopped leaves, cleaned out dead zinnias and other annuals, and hauled flower pots to the shed whose plants had succumbed to earlier freezing temperatures. 

I even rescued one brave plant that was the sole survivor in what had once been a large pot of many plants. This plant deserved to come indoors! I also dug up a few geraniums and potted them to bring in. I still had some space left on the lighted plant stand, but the arrival of more plants will make it difficult for the cats to curl up under the lights now for naps.

As I spotted still-living plants to bring indoors before the next snow, I thought of the hymn "Rescue the Perishing," and I hoped to have time to rescue as many plants as I still had room for on the plant stand. Thankfully God has plenty of room in His family for all that can be rescued now! Hopefully we will allow ourselves to be used on the rescue team!

A couple little girls visiting their grandmother next door wanted to help me in the yard. They cleaned out a flower bed where we discovered the salvia was only dead on top. The bottoms were still green, so I just clipped off the dead tops. The plant nearest the center of the group was still nearly all green, having been shielded from the cold by the plants around it. Had it been all alone, it would have been dead. 

Just as plants do better in groups, so do people. As members of the body, we can and should support and encourage each other, and know that we will be protected by the Good Shepherd, who will leave the ninety-nine sheep to go in search of a lost one to rescue it. When we experience times of feeling lost, it's reassuring to know we are one of His, and He will help us find our way back to Him.

While I worked on the yard, some men who'd been glazing my windows, painting, and doing some repairs were also working on such a nice day. They'd gotten a rather late start on the job for this season, then been delayed by rain. But they'd managed to get all the siding painted and all but one window painted before the snow. Yesterday they scraped paint off the windows, hung storm windows, and made repairs to the fascia.

As we worked, they trying to finish before dark and cold stopped them, and I trying to finish before sundown and the beginning of the Sabbath, as well as forecast cold and snow which might mean the end of yard work for this year, I thought of the song, "Work for the Night is Coming." (I tend to think in songs, I guess.) We were all working hard, but perhaps should have started sooner. If the men had managed to start painting sooner, they might painted the last window, the doors, and the shutters, too. If I'd gotten up earlier so I could

"Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling"
I might have finished up the last section of leaves which I didn't have time to rake.

Of course my yard doesn't really matter, although I did work hard, thinking of the night coming, and trying to make the yard look perfect by the end of the day. In truth, it's better this year than it's been many other years. But it already had some pretty red leaves from the Bradford pear decorating it by this morning. They did look nice on the still-green grass, but will soon be dry and less attractive. And more leaves will fall before spring, so I'll need to rake again. 

But for the work we as Christians do, we need to take the song to heart and work without delays! Like my salvia, we don't know when death may come. It can come for anyone at any time, so we never know how much time is left to work on those things about ourselves we want to change; or how much time is left to help others (if we keep meaning to get involved in some projects, but haven't gotten around to them yet); or how much time we have left to share about Christ's sacrifice and God's plan with others whom God may be calling. God may be planning to use us to rescue them from the life they are living now--an awesome rescue mission--far more important that bringing a few geraniums in for the winter! 

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4
Kathy Coleman 
November-2004

Logo: Digging Deeper with the Gardner.

 

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