Monday, January 17, 2011

A Time Such As This

"Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14

A friend of mine has been pouring through the book of Esther for a few days, and I thought that I would spend some time there myself, as it's always a delightful book to spend time in.   This verse from above is an often quoted verse, I hear it quite often used in contexts of other conversations or preachings, or even used in books.  But as I read through it this morning, I couldn't help but think to myself and wonder exactly what time am I being prepared for?

Did you ever wonder about that?  Every single person has a unique set of abilities and talents, and did you ever think about the unique abilities and talents you have and wonder when your time was going to come to pass?  I certainly have been lately. At times, when I think on that it's almost frightening, and I say frightening, because to someone who doesn't know Jesus, frightening would be the right word.  But since I am a child of God, and I do not possess the spirit of fear in my body, it's only almost frightening.  It could cause panic and worry if I really, really thought about it.

Because one of the things that's really been on my mind in the last while has been the coming vegetable garden.  That may seem harmless enough, and it's a fun hobby for me that pays dividends by putting food on the table. But what if that vegetable gardening became a necessity?  I mean, a necessity, not because of lack of money to purchase fresh food, but what if it became a necessity because the food we purchase at the grocery store had the potential to cause life-threatening diseases?  What if, by purchasing that package of grocery store celery, you knew you were gambling 50/50 as to whether or not your family got e coli or salmonella?  I would think that most people would pass on the fresh celery.

And yet, we need the fresh fruits and vegetables to maintain healthy physical bodies. This year as I've been planning my vegetable garden, I feel like there's a sense of urgency driving me to do it.  And yet, this urgency is not to plan quickly and haphazardly, but to be really purposeful and really think on what I want to plant- and when I want to plant.  This hobby of vegetable gardening that I truly enjoy could become one of those skills that I've developed for "such a time as this".

My passion for home cooking and cooking from scratch could be another one.  If, indeed, there was something wrong with our food supply here in our country, say with canned goods, it would barely affect my family, because I know how to make most things from scratch.  How many of my friends and neighbors don't?  Cooking for me is a hobby, it's something I really and truly enjoy, but it's also a necessity for me to feed my family well.  Admittedly, when I talk to most people about this very thing, no one seems particularly interested.  I mean, who wants to go to the trouble of making their own pasta and sauce when you can buy ready made items from the store?  Well, I do.  And maybe the day will come where these skills I have will be put to use, and I will be able to share with my friends and neighbors in days of need. 

And yet, in both these instances, I just have to say that I pray the hour of need doesn't come, because these are scary ideas that I'm talking about.  While I'm certainly not afraid, and I'm not concerned in the least of the days to come- because I've been learning to not worry about tomorrow- these thoughts do make me more aware.  And honestly?  It is making me talk to God about these simple pleasures I've taken up as hobbies.  When I am thinking about my vegetable garden, I've been praying that God will help me to make the right decisions this year, and that He will provide abundantly so that we can purchase the things we need to really make the gardens productive this year.   I recently taught myself to knit, and while I'm still working on my first project, I'm finding that it's an enjoyable little thing that I can do when I want to just sit and relax for a while, and it's something that produces tangible benefits.  People can always use scarves, sweaters, socks, blankets, and other clothing items that have been knitted.  In the back of my mind I'm also thinking about the whole idea of prayer shawls and prayer cloths, and I'm wondering about what it would be like to really get accomplished with knitting, and then while knitting, reciting scripture and prayers while making an item for someone in need.  I know I've heard of people doing that very thing while stitching a quilt together.

I guess the whole point of these ramblings today is found right in the book of Ecclesiastes.

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might"  Ecclesiastes 9:10

The hobbies and activities that we take part in from day to day are in important part of who we are- and someday they could be something that God will use in a great and mighty way.  And so it seems to me that as we tackle something that is seemingly harmless- like a hobby, that we should do so with all our heart and really learn how to do it.  Someday, you may be called upon to use that skill in a great and mighty way, and I guess that I for one would like to be prepared.  Because someday, I might be called upon for such a time as this. 

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