Have you ever gone through customs and had them ask you if you have any live plants? Did you ever wonder why they ask? I’ve seen people try to sneak things through customs, not paying attention to the rules about bringing plants and other things into the US that are prohibited. Even though it seems harmless to bring a plant from another country, it could be a disaster. Thus, this is the reason for the rule.
It’s kind of like the 10 commandments. There are some that view the 10 commandments as just guidelines, not really rules. Like for instance, I’ve heard some say, “When it says ‘thou shalt not lie’, I’m sure that doesn’t mean when I tell a little fib in order to not hurt someone’s feelings.” Really? Is that how it goes? I don’t think so!
Maybe you say I’m too black and white, as I have accused so in the past. However, I call it like I see it and if there is a rule or a law, it is probably there because at one time or another it was a problem. The person smuggling a simple little plant into the US just for use in their yard, or the man who tells his wife he’s working late when in fact, he’s out with a new female friend, have no clue as to how many people their simple decision to disobey the rules will affect down the road. It all seems simple, but before you know it, it is out of control.
This past weekend, my husband and I visited Gatlinburg for a few days for rest and relaxation in the beautiful Smokey Mountains—one of our favorite places to kick back and unwind from life’s stresses. It was a bit unnerving though as we stayed in a cabin called the Dolly cabin, short for Dolly Parton. Everywhere we turned, there was another picture of Dolly staring at us! There were Dolly DVD’s in the draws, CD’s by the stereo and lace and flowers everywhere you looked! A couple of times, I had to turn a picture around as I couldn’t take one more picture of Dolly! Obviously, we are not Dolly fans, but to each his own! LOL!
As if that weren’t enough, as we drove through the Smokey Mountain National Park this year, I grew concerned as I looked around at the scenery in the mountains as well. You see, several years ago, someone decided it would be a good idea to bring a plant from China/Japan called Kudzu to the US. It makes a great ground cover and it also blooms with some beautiful flowers occasionally, just adding to its charm. When it was brought over, it caught on like wildfire as it was new, different, and grew easily in the south. However, the one thing one did not do their homework on is the fact that in the US, we don’t have the insects and/or animals to eat the plant that they have in Asia. In fact, since we don’t, this vine called Kudzu has been known to be called the vine that ate the south. It is so out of control that it is overtaking entire mountainsides of trees that have been growing for decades as it flourishes up the existing foliage smothering out anything in its way.
I have heard that the only way to get rid of it is to remove the vine and burn it. Even then, if one leaf flies out of the fire and falls to the ground, a new plant will begin right there. It really grieves me to think that we could lose acres upon acres of trees and vegetation in these areas because it is so out of control. Eventually though, left to grow, it will overtake and destroy all vegetation in its path. In fact, it will overtake buildings, wiring, or whatever is in its way.
It kind of reminds me of sin. For example, when a person steps out of a marriage relationship and entertains the idea of an adulterous affair, they are only thinking of themselves and never even consider they might hurt anyone else. Most of the time, it’s just a simple friendship that develops with no intention of an adulterous relationship or of hurting anyone with this newfound friend.
However, it’s kind of like the Kudzu. Just one little leaf—or in this case, one little lie—takes root and grows and before you know it, it is out of control. Before you know it, you are justifying it and excusing it as you watch it destroy your relationships with your spouse, your children, your parents/in-laws, maybe your employers, friends, etc. There is nothing but the Holy Spirit’s fire that will give you strength to rise above and kill that which seeks to destroy what we have worked years to have. Sin can rob us of our joy in an instant. It is unrelenting—it doesn’t care what it finds in its path or who it hurts.
This is why it is important to follow the guidelines God set down for us in His Word, the Bible. When He says we shouldn’t lie or commit adultery, I’m thinking He has a pretty good reason for saying it. Don’t you? Or as far as the plants go, yes, it’s tempting to have the next latest thing in our yard that makes it stand out from the Jones’ but is it worth losing everything to have it? The newness and excitement will wear off in both cases and then you’re just going to have another disaster to have to deal with. It’s so much easier and much more rewarding to stay the course, do the right thing, and receive the blessings for having done so, even when it is hard and you have to deprive yourself at times of things that are tempting. However, if you stay on the path, keep your eye on the goal, whatever you’re struggling with, will quickly lose its appeal. Trust me, I’m a realtor! It’s one of the funny things I say in life since realtors rank somewhere around used car salesmen. LOL! Today though, I will say, “Trust me, I’m a Christian.” I have reaped and expect to keep reaping God’s rewards for staying on the path and am here to testify to you today that no matter what comes your way, if it’s not of God, run! There is nothing worth losing it all.
Proverbs 3:1-2 (NKJV) My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 2For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.