Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trusting the Gardener

Have you ever met someone who can make anything grow?  They seem to work miracles--they bring plants back from the brink of death.  They can make even the most stubborn of flowers thrive under the most challenging of environments.

I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite.  All plants (and some small animals--don't ask) die in my care.  Don't ever give me a plant or flower thinking it will brighten my day and "it is so easy to take care of."  I know you mean well, but it will die.  No kidding.  My husband once gave me a heart shaped bamboo (I know--so romantic) that didn't even have any roots; it just sat in some rocks and I just had to fill the jar with some water every couple of days.  It lasted longer than most, but yep--it kicked it.  I just have a black thumb I guess.

I've been thinking why it is that I can experience the greatest growth on my life right now, while I have this ugly disease.  It is because I have a great gardener!  He is a miracle worker that's for sure.  He brings brown, shriveled lives back from the brink of death (actually beyond death) and breathes new life into his creations. He makes beautiful blooms come from even the ugliest of plants.

The only reason I have any life at all is because I have a gardener who planted me and waters me and helps me grow.  He has the green thumb and he works wonders despite my brown one.  I just need to trust him and bloom where I am planted.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hooking the Little Fish

I've been thinking about how many problems are caused by time. Not enough of it. Too much of it. Something doesn't come quick enough. Others events come too quickly (how in the world did I become a mother of an eight year old?!).
It really isn't times fault. Each of us is allotted exactly the same amount of minutes a day. None of us know how much time we have on earth. We are all the same nearness to death because we just never know what will happen (really for those of us in life threatening situations this really is a hopeful thought--perhaps not so much to everybody else:-).   The problem comes from our perspective of time.
Sometimes it seems like I can’t be bothered by the little things. I have a skewed perspective of time.  The decision of what needs to be done is made with a jumble of priorities swimming around each begging to be caught.  For example, last week, I let the dishes go for a couple of days because I just didn’t have the “time.”  When I finally did them it hardly took any time at all and I felt better having done them. Ultimately, however, that decision didn’t really amount to much except a cleaner kitchen, a more peaceful domestic status.
But what about the decision not to kiss my husband, comfort my child, help a friend (or more likely a stranger), or share my faith?  Decisions that aren’t really decisions, just fish I didn’t hook because my eyes were distracted by some larger catch.  Decisions that aren’t really decisions still have larger consequences.
But what if I made a decision based on a bigger picture?  An eternal one?  
I am reminded of Phillip in Acts Chapter 8. He was preaching in Samaria, finding great success—healings and popularity. “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said.” He must have been tempted into taking great pride in himself.  Did he sometimes loose the message in all the hype?
Still he heard the voice, “The angel of God” telling him to go south down the desert road. Did he pause for a moment wondering if it was worth his time, was there larger crowds down that road. Bigger fish to fry, so to speak?  But he went nonetheless and met a eunuch with whom he shared the good news.  It sounded like he spent some time with him, taking the time to sit and discuss the passage of scripture the man was reading.  They continued walking together and then he asked to be baptized.  Just one man, but who knows the influence he may have had in the Ethiopian courts?  But even if he didn’t go on to influence others, still he is in heaven because Phillip heeded the Angel of the Lord and took the time.  He wasn’t distracted by what he thought he needed to get done but saw the bigger picture and what a change of direction and some time can do.
Blooming where you are planted means having an eternal perspective.  It mean heeding the voice inside you that says take the time, don’t be in such a rush, don’t think about what is in it for you, but look people in the eye and spend time with them.  You never know when the little fish is the one God wants you to hook.
Ephesians 5:15-17
New International Version (NIV)
 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.