Thursday, November 26, 2009

For the One Who Waters

"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." 1 Corinthians 3:6

My husband and I love to host small dinner parties at our home. It's not the food that we enjoy as much as it is the conversation with loved ones and friends that comes so naturally as everyone lingers long past the coffee and dessert. It's those times of conversation and laughter that hearts are joined together in the fabric that memories are made.

One one such occasion a few years back I received a hostess gift. It was a miniature, rustic watering can with an attached note that said, "For One Who Waters." As unique as the giver, the message carried in on this tiny can caused my mind to ponder it for days.

Of course, having the love of gardening, I first thought about the rules of gardening and nature. A plant starts in the form of a seed placed in fertile soil. With the right amount of watering and sunshine the seed germinates, sprouts it's little head above the soil . With much continued prayer for more sunshine, watering, weeding, and patience it grows into a mature, adult plant within a few months. Without all of these steps in the right amounts the seed will not grow. Some of the steps we can control. Other steps is up to nature and the weather patterns.

If we hold this parallel to our spiritual walk like Paul did in 1 Corinthians, he's saying that some of us plant the seed of the Gospel in people's hearts. Others of us, water that seed, providing a way for the nutrients of the soil of God's word and His Holy Spirit to penetrate or condition the soil or heart of the listener. Still others are there to pull out the weeds (bad influences, choices) that might choke the seedling (new believer) while others are there to witness and harvest the mature plant (mature believer) from the vine that will be food for others. But, no matter what input we may have in someone's life, only God himself can make a person's faith grow.

As we all enjoyed the bounty around the table this Thanksgiving Day, I pray you all received the blessing of the fabric woven into memories of family and friends. For those who planted, watered, weeded, harvested or were fed may you feel the fullness of knowing you were chosen for that purpose by the God who makes us all grow!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tell Me That Old, Old Story

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
Romans 15:4

I've been busy all day preparing for my story time with a new set of three-year-olds tomorrow. All the toys have been carefully placed in the toy box. New sets of stickers have been printed for the children to take home. A bright, colorful, big-book version of the story has been assembled and copies of the picture book have been boxed for resale. Everything is set and ready to go!

At least that's what I thought until I started to retell this familiar story using my new big book illustrations! I recited the first few lines and stopped. I started again and stumbled over the wording! Oh my! Again, I started and stopped but pushed forward toward the end. You would think, being the author of the story, that I'd have the words down pat! But, like any other story, if it's not told or read over and over again, the words become forgotten. And, that's exactly the case with my performance. I'd not read the book in about a month and my memory of the exact wording was fuzzy.

It's like that with God's story too, isn't it? We think we know what His story is because we've read it or heard it so many times before. But if we stop reading or listening to that old, familiar story our memory tends to fail us. Oh, we might remember enough to paraphrase His thoughts and we might even be able to quote our favorite verses. But, when it comes to actually recalling God's story, we fall short of the details.

In today's verse, Paul states that the Bible "was written to teach us so that, [through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures], we might have hope." The Bible doesn't exist just to tell us stories. It's purpose isn't to entertain us or just give us an account of history. It's there to teach us God's plan for living life. It's meant to be emulated in our lives and passed onto our children, our grandchildren, our friends. God had His words written down so that all generations would know them, learn them, live them and teach them so that "we might have hope" for a future with God himself.

Now, the next time we're cuddled up with our children or grandchildren reading their favorite story book let's be reminded to introduce them to God's story so that they too might be taught to be encouraged and have hope in that old, old story!

Friday, November 6, 2009


"For God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." Romans 11:29

It's been a couple of weeks of crisis, chaos and confusion. Just as I walked through that open door of opportunity, a roaring rush of wind shook my foundation and instantly my quiet life was spun out of control. In the middle of a deafening cyclone of flying debris coming at me from every direction I've had no time to think or ponder or speak my heart aloud. I've only been able to react, to survive until at the end of every day, my body could physically take no more.

Finally, this week, the rushing wind subsided. The deafening cyclone of crisis fell silent. The dust settled and I was left standing in a stupor. My eyes scanned the horizon searching for the comfort of familiar. The faces were strange, yet welcoming. My surroundings, new but oddly like home. My heart reeled with emotions of pain, loss, change and renewal simultaneously. I questioned God's call on my heart. With all this change, was His call still the same?

Walking through this new territory seemed hard work at first but eventually, the rhythm came. In the quiet moments that returned I found comfort in God's familiar voice. He whispered to my heart, "Come away, my beloved and write down my words. Come away, my beloved. My promises never change. Come away, my beloved where my blessings overflow. Come away. Follow me."

Although my surroundings have changed a bit and my circumstances have shaken the foundations of my life God's promises and call on my heart have remained the same.