When Exodus 20:17 tells me, "I shall not covet my neighbor's house, my neighbor's spouse, their servants, oxen or donkeys ," does that also mean I should not covet my neighbor's flowers? Probably.
My neighbor, Mrs. Crider, has the most beautiful Mandevilla I have ever seen. (That's a flowering vine, in case you didn't know.) I, too, have a Mandevilla, but Mrs. Crider's could eat mine for breakfast.
Every time I go by her house, I look longingly at her vine that snakes up her porch post and THEN along her porch ceiling - for the love! One of these days, I'm going to hit her mailbox while looking at it. (A story for another day.)
My Mandevilla has thankfully bloomed all summer, but it does not snake up my porch post and then along my porch ceiling. It is short and bushy.
A few weeks ago, I sat on my porch studying my flowers. Why was hers so tall and mine so not tall? It finally occurred to me what the difference was - she had staked hers, but I had not. Dadgumit!
I put a long branch in the Mandevilla pot to give it something to cling to. It's remarkable how quickly it is growing now. Though it's late in the summer, my vine is growing like a beanstalk, now halfway up my porch column!
Mandevillas long to reach out. If they have something to grow against, they will climb to the moon - almost. If they are not staked or have something to latch on to, they won't reach their full potential. Spiritually speaking, we are the same way.
When Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 15, He summed it all up. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit (or bloom many blooms); apart from Me you can do nothing."
If I stake myself to Him, I will grow! Without Him, I will not bear fruit and will never reach my full potential.
What have you latched your life to? Whatever your age, it's not too late to stake yourself to Jesus! He longs to love you, strengthen you and grow you! Let's just keep my Mandevilla jealousy between us. It wouldn't be neighborly if Mrs. Crider found out!
Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.