Green Bean Theology

Some of my favorite moments with my dad have been in the garden. I didn’t always feel this way though. At an early age, he had us in the garden with him and at that time it felt like slow, painful torture. The rows seemed endless to my little body. I dreaded it and the only thing that would keep me motivated to complete the weeding and picking was the thought that we’d get ice cream at our favorite spot afterwards.

Ice cream is a great motivator. THAT is something that hasn’t changed.

As I’ve gotten older, garden time with dad has become more precious. Most times there’s very little talking that happens. And then there are moments where I’ll be pruning the raspberry bushes with my dad and he’ll drop a nugget of wisdom for me to remember. It’ll get me thinking and asking questions– and a once menial task has made an impact on my heart.

Jesus did that too. He’d take an everyday type task and bring a kingdom perspective to those within earshot.

This weekend my dad needed some help picking green beans so I offered to help out. The task was no longer dreadful but a way I could show my dad I loved him. With the sun beating down on my shoulders, I enjoyed the quiet minutes in the garden with nothing on my mind but to find and pick greens beans.

And as I did it I noticed something. The hardest thing about picking green beans is finding them– a green vegetable attached to a green plant. Sometimes you have to pick up the different vines of the plant and look underneath the leaves in order to find them. They’re there, but they’re hiding. And it makes me wonder if I’ve been a green bean Christian.

Roses are easy to spot on their bushes. Their brightly colored petals proudly stand out amongst the leaves. Green beans though are easily camouflaged. Nothing brightly distinguishing them from their source. In the midst of this simple task I found myself convicted– “Holly, is there anything about you that causes you to stand out in this world? Are you living a life that brightly shines in the darkness? Or are you content being hidden making sure to not cause a ‘scene’?”

Its easy to fade into the background. To look like, talk like, reason like everyone else. And yet, the thing about Jesus that was so enticing to the sick, the lame and the broken people was that He stood out from everyone else. He’d touch a leper who had been marked as an untouchable. He’d release a sexually promiscuous woman from her punishment. He’d pick up a child and say they had worth. He countered his culture by continually committing social and religious faux paus.

That’s the kind of Christian I want to be. Not so I can stand out and proclaim how good I am. Cause I’m not. But so I can declare and testify of HIS goodness. I’m sick of being a green bean. It’s time to shine!

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#Start

Motivation comes in all different shapes and sizes.

My “kick-in-the-pants” came from a famous, Christian, satire writer named Jon Acuff. I’ve been reading his stuff for years. I enjoy laughing at his ridiculous Instagram posts and have even tried to master the ever awkward “side-hug” that he has popularized. I’ll admit though, my favorite blog posts are his “Serious Wednesday” posts. He always catches me with the sneaky liver jabs on Wednesdays. He’ll hook you with his wit then nail you with his wisdom.

A few weeks ago, he posted a dare– to join in an adventure. All you had to do was e-mail him your name and address. Then, wait. And I essentially forgot about it. Maybe it had just been a ploy to get more e-mail addresses so he could sell them and buy a new car. But sometimes adventures take time. And sometimes they come out of nowhere.

So, when I received an e-mail from Jon Acuff on July 3rd I was pretty sure I had been Punk’d. Nice try, Ashton. I see what you’re doing there. But it wasn’t a joke or a marketing scheme. It was a genuine invitation to link up with roughly 2,000 other people and start something.

And here I am. Starting something. Starting something that I should have started years ago, but decided that being insecure and fearful was easier than growing a pair. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m still afraid. I’m still struggling with the idea of starting this blog. The internet needs one more blog like Walmart needs another mullet sporting customer. I’m certainly not going to try and convince you that my blog will somehow stand out from all the rest. Truth is: it probably won’t.

And yet, in the sea of blogs I’m adding mine with the hopes that whoever crosses its path with get something from it. Be it a laugh, an awkward story to share with friends, or some wonderfully placed wisdom that sneaks in and encourages you or ignites a passion in you that had grown cold.

Buckle up.