Seek Ye First

Rosemary pic

Eight years ago while clearing a flower bed, we found that a tiny fig tree had seeded itself.  Under financial duress at the time, I took it as a word from the Lord from Habakkuk:

‘Though the fig-tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the sheepfold
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.’  Habakkuk 3:17-19

Over the years I have carefully nurtured this sapling both as an Ebenezer stone to God’s faithfulness, but also because I love figs!  I have always hoped that at some point it would produce fruit but, it never has.

Right now, I am again under financial duress and the sole caregiver for my children.  Concerned that they were spending too much time on screens, this week I told them we would use our summer days to come up with homemade projects instead.

My eight year old son wanted to plant carrots so I needed to prune our abundant rosemary bush to give him room.  Quick as a flash I knew what we could do with the mound of gorgeous branches now lying on the ground: tie small bundles of sprigs with ribbon (left over from my chutney days), attach a marinade recipe and leave a bunch on each porch in our neighborhood.

They smelt like heaven and the children and I thoroughly enjoyed a day of preparing bunches and carrying them up and down our local streets in a laundry basket.

Job done, we felt satisfied and (of course) quite brilliant.  However, God was doing something more.  On our own porch a couple of days later, we found that a family unknown to us had reciprocated.  Attached to a little basket was a kind note thanking us for the fragrant rosemary.

And what had this sweet family given us?  Figs.

Rosemary is for remembrance, so I will remember this: that the Lord knows what we need before we ask Him.  As we use what He has ALREADY given us, He will add not only what we need, but also what we might not even hope to ask for.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Rosemary 6

 

The Lost One

A terrible thing happened late last night.  After I put the bins out, I discovered that my firstborn Stuart (aka the dog) had – very uncharacteristically – wandered off.  Since this is something he never does and because he is 13 years old, I feared the worst.  Either he had become disoriented at night and gone the wrong way, or he had had a heart attack and collapsed lost and alone somewhere out there in the dark.

I was beside myself.  The thought of Stuart no longer with me was devastating.  I got in the car and started to drive slowly around the neighborhood: tears streaming down my face; windows down; calling out his name.

On my third circle round, I spotted my beloved dog in the light from our porch casually trotting up the front path.  I screeched to a halt, leaped from the car and promptly walloped his bottom hard before falling to my knees, hugging him tightly to me and covering him with kisses.  “Stuart!” I cried. “Stuart!  Stuart!  How could you DO THAT to me?  I was so worried!”

As I was falling into an emotionally exhausted sleep shortly afterwards, the thought struck me that this must be how Christ feels about every single one of us when we are lost.  The story of the ninety-nine sheep who were safe but there was just one who was lost and Jesus left the ninety-nine to find the one.  Yesterday evening, the fact that my two children and our two younger dogs were safe in the house did not mitigate one bit my panic at losing Stuart.  Where was he?  Was he all right?  And there was no question in my mind that – no matter how late it was – I was going to continue searching for him throughout the night if necessary until I had found him and brought him safely home.

However, when WE finally come home like Stuart and let Jesus find us, Jesus doesn’t do what I did.  He doesn’t wallop us for making him worry, he just skips that part altogether. Instead, like the father of the prodigal son, He starts running toward us arms wide hooting and hollering, calling for the party to begin.  With that huge smile on His face, and His eyes saying only, “It doesn’t matter!  It doesn’t matter, don’t you see?  I don’t care where you’ve been! I don’t care what you’ve done!  All that really matters, my precious precious one, is that YOU chose to come home.”

Speaker, teacher, actress, artist, mum, believer… not in that order.