27 May 2011

plant gardens.

"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce." Jeremiah 29:4-5

My dad went off briefly about weeds in the front flower beds today. Just about how he always feels it is a losing battle and it got me to think about this garden exercise I did with my "integrity" Bible study in college. We drew weeds and flowers representing times in our life we were influenced both positively and negatively about a topic. The weeds in our life can be the hardest things to deal with and get rid of. The roots are typically so stubborn and just when we think we've conquered it, it grows back weeks, months, maybe even years later.

I have a friend back in Long Beach who can be a bit random in hobbies, but she and her hubs have a beautiful quaint garden. Pretty good for a small LB townhouse if you ask me. But they enjoy the herbs and fruit they grow themselves.

This section of Jeremiah really encouraged me in my choice to stay on staff as so many times people quote verse 11 not thinking of the context of the rest of the passage. This was not good news to the Israelites. They were hoping Jeremiah was going to tell them they could come home, leave Babylon behind and find their national identity in their physical land again. Instead, Jeremiah tells them to stay where they are and get settled, because it is going to be a while!

I think sometimes we can fool ourselves saying one little seed is enough work for a garden to spring up. When in reality, a garden is not just one plant. It is a myriad of plants and seeds sprouting in growth when the right resources are added. This next year in Long Beach, I want to see a garden of many types, shapes, and designs of plants sprouting up to bear good fruit. It's gonna be work, but I'm glad the soil is already being tended to.

01 May 2011

Second-String Lies

The other day I was comparing the Clippers to the kid at recess who got picked last. Nobody really cares for them to be on their team, but you deal with their existence all the while knowing they can help to make the rest of your team look good.

Then I was thinking, though I was always one of the first picked in elementary school (and used to be pretty happy about it), come middle school, I easily was overlooked to become second-string. Softball, Ultimate, no problem! But basketball...I loved the game and could do great in practice, but as soon as some kid came running up to me, I would end up doing horribly! I would make so many fouls for reaching over girls heads unknowing that my height advantage was not supposed to be used to catch a rebound in that way. The game became less fun when I was pulled before the second half.

I was talking about worth with one of my friends the other day. The lies we believe in being unwelcome in other people's lives and the sadness it brings to see people leave the team, done with a sport that used to give them so much joy. Then I was reflecting later on why people leave, why we can all feel unwanted or as if we have become the second-string.

Yesterday I washed and detailed my car. As I was riding back from a friend's house, I noticed I streaked the windshield on the interior! I immediately felt angry at myself! Like after 3 hours of working on the car I couldn't even get that right!

Sometimes, I can think I'm second-string in God's eyes too.

Like I can't seem to get anything right! That if there were enough other players ready to play, I would be moved to the bench in a heartbeat.

But in God's eyes, I'm the starting quarterback. I'm the clean-up hitter put into the 9th inning when the team is tied. In God's eyes, he is sad I view myself on the second-string. I'm the masterpiece MVP he wants to put on display, and I'm sitting there hiding in a corner.

James 1:18 says, "He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

Do you get it? We are the firstfruits! The cream of the crop! Put into the game because we want to play! Not because of our own abilities, but because we have an amazing coach!