Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Moment: All You Have To Do

All you have to do
is decide what to do
with the time that is given you.
-J. R. R. Tolkien

While planting a few shallots and herbs this weekend, I got to looking closely at what exactly I was planting. Have you ever tucked a seed or bulb into the ground after carefully examining it? The act of gardening is an act of faith in itself, because seeds and cloves and bulbs look like a waste of time. They look dead. Expired. How could something wonderful or edible possibly come from something so dried up and small?

Most seed stays viable between one and three years. Amazing, when you think of it. But this stuff looked iffy. I knew the quickest way to determine whether seed will germinate is to take two damp paper towels, tuck the seeds between them, seal it inside a plastic baggie, and wait until 7 or more sprout. If they do, plant away; it's viable seed.

The Bible talks a lot about seed. I looked it up this morning in my battered Bible. Skipping over the poetry in Isaiah 55, the Parable of the Sower in the Matthew 13, and the "faith the size of the mustard seed" bit in Matthew 17, I ended up in I Peter 1: 13-25. The topic of the section in my Bible was: BE HOLY. Oh geez. Not today. I prepared to skip over that, too.

But I didn't. I read. Hey listen, the passage said to me, as long as you're depending on a God who deals with everyone's deeds impartially, live your life like you're only here temporarily. Because you are, after all. Your home is in heaven. And now that you've set yourself apart by trying to obey God, love each other deeply. From the heart. Because you've been given a new life - not from perishable seed, but from imperishable; you've been given a new life through the living and enduring word of God.

Wow. This pulled at my ears and banged on my heart. It really dealt with me. Because I am, right now, having a hard time living like I'm here temporarily. I'm treating fleeting hurts like eternal suffering. I'm labeling a tough break a "ruined life". And I'm having a hard time loving. Forgiving. Especially from my torn-to-shreds heart. Shame on me. I don't have much time. And I've been given an amazing life - viable seeds, not dead ones - through the promises of a watching and knowing God.

Let's be real: sometimes, when you hold your Bible in your hands... when you examine this whole Christian life thing closely... it does look improbable. A waste of time, even. Just like those seeds and cloves and bulbs. Yet as any good gardener will tell you, it's not. One shriveled seed can bring about decades of blooms. One bulb can produce seasons of flowers. God - through His Word - is the same way. His promises to us aren't small. They're not perishable. They don't expire in one to three years. We don't have to wonder if He's going to come around after all. We don't have to worry about whether we're wasting our time plodding around down here on earth.

I adore the Tolkien quote. We've been given time, now all we have to do is decide what in the world we'll do with it. The Bible says: Don't waste it. You've been given good seed... seed that won't die. Run with that. Use that. And love each other deeply. From the heart.

And so I'll try. I'll try my best. Even as I plant my seed and water my cloves and bulbs, I'll try. I won't be perfect, but it's a start.

All you have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given you....

Monday Moment is a modest little devotional
to help kick-start your week. See you again next time!


Rosa said...

A good reminder. Thanks!

jimr75 said...

Three things come to mind after reading this devotion:
1) Thank you,
2) Thank you again and,
3) Thank you.

That spoke straight to me.

Sizzle said...

totally- i needed to hear that today. thank you.

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

As I sit here at home, iced in, I take this reminder to heart and hands, as spring nears, gardening is a true act of faith! But I'm sad too, reading between the lines, I wish you only knew how special you are and what a light! Don't be so hard on yourself, you will over come this too! Hugs!!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Exhaling deeply... I don't know how you do it, but you continue to hit me where I am living. These Monday moments are not modest little trifles; they are the stuff of real lives.

Melissa said...

I enjoy your blog esp your Monday Moments. I have a blog for women's devotional called Girls of Grace but I've gotten out of the habit of writing devotions. I need to get inspired again. I love your city girl vs country girl on your blog. Esp about country girl being priceless. I'm Sue @ Country Pleasures daughter in law. I don't know a lot of people on blog land so I'd love to get to know you! Hope you have a great week! Take care and God bless!

Beth said...

Thanks so much for the WONDERFUL Monday Moment. I love the quote!! And your thoughts on seeds. Your transparency and writing are a blessing, Brin!

A family of boys said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful Monday Moment. I truly needed this right now!

Terri and Bob said...

What a wonderful wonderful devotion. I love that saying, Bloom where you are planted. I think it applies right here, don't you think?

odd dotty said...

You have no idea how affirming that was. This morning, in my own quiet time, I was just looking out my window and praying when suddenly the reminder that this is not my home flew through my head. It was seemingly out of nowhere, so I chose to meditate on it for a while, and how we are to love others in a radical way the way Christ did/does. So reading this tonight really speaks to me. Thank you.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Excellent. I've come to look forward to your Monday Moments.

LOVE the quote by Tolkien.

incapearl said...

Hey Brin,

I just ran across your site the other day and so was greatly blessed with my very first Monday Moment.

I was working in my garden yesterday--getting beds ready for flowers and veggies. The bed I finished was the one I'm going to plant herbs and flowers. One of the flowers is morning glories.

So, I was thinking about when to plant out the morning glories. Wondering when would be best, and how they reseed themselves and whether or not I could use my 3 year old cosmos seeds. (Yeah, I know, but at least both thoughts were about flowers.)

That got me to thinking about how seeds are so programed to live--to start. Yes, the percentage of viability goes down but man all those seeds want to do is sprout. Then, after that, they grow just so they can flower and make more seeds.

I agree with you about gardens and God and seeds and us. Isn't it wonderful that God made the stuff that makes up metaphors? I mean, don't you think he made seeds to do what they do so we would say, "hey, that's kind of like us and how God grows in our heart." I think so.

Thanks for sharing what God had to say to you today.


Jillian said...

Your Monday Moment is excellent. What a great testimony. Sometimes we dwell too much on these "things" in our life that seem SO IMPORTANT...and we need to look at the bigger picture.

Thanks for sharing!

Heather said...

This also spoke to me. It is an excellent quote and one I'm going to use for my Quotable Friday this week. Thank you.

DebMc said...

Beautiful post! You've reminded me to look closely at the Son, not only at those imperfect creatures who follow him.

I love your seed analogy. Very nice.

betty r said...

Your Monday Moment was helpful as usual...thought provoking and a good reminder. Loved the quote.
Thank you Brin!