|Plate of blessed pears - the unexpected fruit survived two late freezes|
I take no fruit or veggie for granted. I hope you understand that old saying. I've had life long hearing loss a genetic thing not complaining just saying. and really I thought those hard old "cow apples" at Granny's were granite apples for the longest time. And they sure felt like I ate granite when I ate them too green...😃
Over and over again, I learn lessons on the farm, that although apples may be in season somewhere, not many made it through in the South without smut pots burning etc. But the nights of the out of season freeze we had to rescue the strawberries already forming under the casual not very cold winter. We could not rescue every fruit on the farm....no time for apples and peaches.
In not taking things for granted, farmers learn that nothing is promised or granted from day to day. Most of the small farmers I know have both faith & hope. Without the two, they could not farm very long. Although not blessed with financial riches - not any small farm I know, we are rich sometimes with philosophical or spiritual riches in our dependence on God's weather, God's time Our farm believes in God - a benevolent and loving one. My husband and I may different on certain theological points but on the issues of Christianity and its basics, we are one. But only God knows the future or even who will breathe the next breath, or which seed will germinate. The farmer works with God. Whether the farm is in our name or on the debt papers, the wise farmer knows we only farm the land for a while. The farmer who looks at our world as God's creation tries to leave the soil richers than when he started and he or she must realize the next farmer may change everything begun before. Each farms but for a while.
Now, jump away from your day-to-day thinking and pretend with me that you are a farmer of your spiritual gifts and you are given 5 tomato plants representing five of your spiritual gifts. That's only one part of the process............. "Take no fruit or vegetable for granted" and apply it to everything in life, Wow, would it be crazy if I just plant the tomatoes and go about my life..... expecting that somehow, the plant will be:
Cleaned for Market
Taken to Market
Preserved for Future Use - canned, dried, pickled, baked, frozen, etc
|Pears canned for Refrigerator|
Did I use my gifts (tomatoes) God gave me well? Did I really do my part? Or did my spiritual tomato plants just sit on a shelf, waiting to be planted and wilt and be not used at all. Did I let in my world God come last after all else, instead of First. The Bible has many agricultural examples....I love Matthew 13 and the parable about casting the seeds. Jesus spoke in parables to reach the people of the day who were largely agricultural. He made examples using the words they spoke.
As I have told many folks who plant backyard gardens,,,,,The planting of the tomato bearing not spiritual gift bearing is the least of it, the tending is the most. And so I believe it is in life. Some folks really believe everything will just come to them, effortlessly. Is it a sign of our times or just that parents gave the child everything and they never had to work at all.... This group can get shocked NOT to get the first job for which they applied. Some folks quit on their little garden of life before even planting that tomato. Some expect that life will be effortless, no struggles, no hard work and some people that those closest to God will be granted special wealths or healths which opposite of Biblical teaching.
Others quit at the first discouragement - the first slug, bug, competitor for the plant.
Others quit when it's too hard - sweaty, discouraging, too dry, too hot. Because you quit working them early in life. ..
And then there are other, who clearly follow God's direction and no matter how difficult, they won't stop. I have friends who became missionaries in their 40's and their 50's. Wow! And to places where they spoke none of the language and they were the first in their area.
We are so comfort bound in our society that pushing our limits seems wrong in our society. What? sweating in the summer when it's not necessary. We constantly seek what is not before us. We want heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I often wonder if we don't come up with more excuses on why we cannot do something than we can. We cannot be content.
Do we know our gifts and somehow wish to ignore them? Or do we make another excuse, as I'm too old or something equally self demeaning..... Not use them, as if to Say "God, wait, you don't know me, I don't do public speaking at all. You have the wrong person....." I've heard that so many times......
If we are discouraged along the way, it's probably appropriate, as we are either needing to tend our garden or look hard at the gifts we received and continue to receive from God. Get some honest friends to sit and tell you what they see your spiritual gifts to be. And have them write it on pieces of paper and give to you anonymously if they don't want to shock you.
It's our focus that discourages us. In my lifetime, and I consider it brief, well compared to a 100 years old, I have heard so many excuses. Do you find discouragement after being on the social networks for a while.... Drop them. Spend your time elsewhere. Time spent on social networks can lead to a sense of negativity or even hostility as I've seen it.
Hesitating or delaying to take a challenge or do something new..... Once you tell me all the reasons you cannot do something, I'm going to tell you, well, if you really believe God wants you to Really are we afraid to use or talents or are we afraid to "fail"....
Said it before and say it again
"This second is my present, the next is God's" There are no guaranteed life expectancies.
So if your "spiritual" gifts are all tomato plants - as a farout example, what matters is:
. How you tend it
. How you brace it up so it is not a ground runner
. How you protect it from competition - wild rabbits, raccoons, possums and yes even deer or a two legged human fence jumper
. And what your quality standards are - on our farm - generally the "customer gets the best and farmer gets the rest".
.Deciding to sell or keep
.Bringing it to market
.How to preserve for future use
. And when to go on to the next crop or skill.
So I wonder if you could be a farmer (at least pretend to be for just a moment) and God gave you special skills and talents - Oh let's just call them tomatoes......
How would you know your skills - what kinds of spiritual tomatoes did God give you? Sometimes, it's NOT the thing of your proficiencies...
Some spiritual skills you have to really work for - Do you need to learn another language but find it hard?
Do you "hoard" your skills and basically keep them to yourself or for a later date? Are you putting off your volunteering for example until you retire..... We are not granted or guaranteed tomorrow.
Do you just disregard your special gifts and plow ahead in life with a sort of dull obligation to meet the bills and never make a plan to use your special talents. You can make the "me" time to volunteer in most cases. You'll get more from it than you ever gave. I still reminesce about my days when I volunteered at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was great! The house might not be clean at all, but you can survive it. I believe we need to meet our financial obligations and debts but also believe we need that joy time of volunteering to develop and/or use a skill.. To make the world a better, gentler place.
Talk more with God. Not just that prayer before meals, on Sunday orWednesday but really talk and LISTEN. Although our life will have spiritual guides - maybe a friend, often a pastor or spiritual leader, ONLY YOU, can set aside that dedication to really WALK the WALK. Many workshops and many retreats available to help us, but ONLY you are in charge of your Present time.
Oh, trust me, I worked many years before I retired officially.....And many of those "work" years I worked late into the evenings as well for paid work, or as an unpaid caregiver or volunteering or creating.... And for you homemakers everywhere, you have my admiration. Baking, creating, decorating...... all great fun for me if someone would just come in and clean up after me. I find over time my hands that have served me so well, can do less and less....And I try to limit those project that are difficult for the hands.. I have no rx answer for rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately. I have yet to come to peace with my wornout hands and body. But in my cheeriest moments, the ones I like to share with you "I would rather wear out my hands and body" than never have used them at all. Most of my life has been in service to others and I won't apologize for taking time to rest or doing less than I once did. Personally working 12 to 20 hours a day is punishing to our bodies. But when I'm bedbound not by rest, but illness, that's a bigger burden!
You know that Biblical illusion regarding not hiding your light, why - it doesn't shine......Sometimes the light is so dim from us, it is like complete cave darkness. Wouldn't it be great if we were so much in tune with God, that people would come to us and say "What is it about you? so Cheery? So different? Why"..... Our light needs to shine in our Earth, more than ever....... To give hope, to give love, to give life, direction.
I used to think God wanted me to be a missionary....... I had a talk with my earthly Dad once and as he talked about His life on this earth and what he valued, He told me and I really thought it was to comfort me, but I knew then and now that prospering where we were planted had much to do with our spiritual prosperity than financial affluence.And he said my mission was in this Country. I have pondered several times over what he meant.
Look what God gave us. The NOT FOR GRANTED fruit in the garden and of our spirits. Time to ponder.........I pray that this blog has given you time to pause, to think, to pray.......Blessings for your day.