"The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell." Song of Solomon 2:12-13
There are too many Christians out there waiting for God to do some big thing for them. I know, because I think I've been guilty of that myself. Now, don't get me wrong, God surely can and does do big things in the lives of his children. But I think when we get distracted, we forget about the small things that He does for us every single day. I like these verses above because they do remind me of the small things. The flowers, for example, surely can be such small things. But boy, are they a blessing when they open in the spring after a long winter.
The voice of a bird is also a small thing, but it is such a lovely thing to wake up to in the morning. The kids and I always try and track down a bird when we hear a new voice in the yard. Right now, in fact, we have a morning dove who has decided to nest above our garage. She sits day in and day out, patiently waiting for her babies to be hatched. I've never seen such dedication! She doesn't move when we go in and out with our vehicles, and doesn't move when we go in and out the front door- which is literally three feet from her nest. We can watch her from our bathroom window too- so we can observe without bothering her. We're enjoying the simple act of watching a bird nest. A simple thing, but a really cool thing that God caused to happen.
Then we move on to the fig tree putting forth her figs. Change those figs to tomatoes, and you have my small thing. Everyday I walk out to the garden and bring tomatoes back into the house with me. It's such a blessing after several years of hardly any tomatoes! I've already put up two batches of salsa from my garden, and that totally delights me and my family. Last night I decided to see if I could find some pickling cucumbers at a local farm stand. When I asked about them, you'd have thought I'd asked for real treasure. The lady working the stand lit up and went to work gathering my pickling cucumbers. When she'd measured out the quantity I'd asked for, she then went above and beyond and heaped the cucumbers. She gave me quite a bit more than the half-bushel I'd asked about. And then last night I was able to enjoy making pickles- it totally delighted Andy to walk in after work and see the pickle factory in progress. We delighted in the small things last night! Which, actually, seem like big things at the moment to me.
Ah, the vines with the tender grapes. I think that's our key verse this morning, because of the word tender. Grapes and grapevines are small things, but they need to be tended with care. You need to be careful, one wrong move and you've squished your grapes before their time and ruined your crop. In the same way, we need to take care with the small blessings that God gives us. If we're not going to take care of the small things, why would He give us the big things. When I think on it, I can think of a dozen small, trivial things that to an outsider would seem incredibly small, but to me, they're huge. Why, I have the perfect example sitting right here next to me. Over the last year, I've signed up for a program where I take surveys online. Just one company, but they send me surveys, I complete them, and then they credit my account with a dollar value. When that dollar value gets so high, I can trade it in for gift cards to various stores. For the third time since January, I've massed enough value to trade in my points for a Gamestop gift card. I am very excited about this, because I have a not-so-little girl who has a birthday on Monday, and I'm very excited to be able to tuck this gift card into her birthday gift. It's unexpected, and it was perfectly timed to be able to bless her with it.
Another small thing. We went on our crazy camp out this past weekend. We basically took enough food stuff to prepare our group meal and then our lunches. We pretty much brought it all back home with us, so I didn't have to go grocery shopping when we came back home. To many people, this wouldn't seem like anything special at all. But it's been awfully nice eating our group meal leftovers in different ways all week, and the lunch things have padded Andy's lunchbox this week with no additional expense necessary.
The thing is, the Bible tells us to be thankful IN ALL THINGS!
"in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
And you know what? When we open our hearts, eyes, and minds to being thankful for the small blessings around us, the world sure does appear a lot more rosy. I mean, when you're walking around being thankful for flowers and birdsong, and deals at the grocery store, life has a rosy tint to it, and it sure feels good! I just remembered I have one more example where God totally blessed me with something small in recent weeks.
Last week was one of those tight money weeks. I literally had $5 in my purse, and no other funding options. Food-wise we were fine, we have food in the house, but the kids had eaten the last bit of fresh fruit we had on hand. I have frozen fruit, but I really wanted some fresh fruit to go with our pancake dinner that we were planning that night. While the kids were at dance, I'd decided to stop in at Wal-Mart (a place I don't shop at often) and see if they had any good deals to be had in the fruit department. I wanted to make the most of my five bucks. So right at the front I see cherries on sale for less than two dollars a pound, and then peaches next to that for less than two dollars a pound. There's a scale nearby, so I weigh up a pound each (or so I thought) of cherries and peaches and head to the checkout.
So I get to the checkout, and it's one of those long waits. I have no where else to be, so I don't really mind, but I am thinking that this is a rather long wait for a few bits of fruit. Well, I get to the checkout and it turns out I mis-read the scale and I actually had two pounds each of the cherries and peaches, which would come to just under eight dollars for both of them. I was thinking that I had to put one of them back when the cashier did a little magic for me. Wal-Mart has a price matching policy- they will match any advertised price at any store on any thing. No questions asked. Well, this particular cashier knew that another store had put out a flyer that week with cherries and peaches both on sale for less than ONE dollar. So she pushed a few buttons, and for four dollars and some change, I got both bags of fruit to take home to my kids. I was floored, I really was. God totally knew that I wanted this fruit for my kids, and he put this specific cashier who knew about this other store's sale right in my path to make sure that I got that fruit to bless my kids with.
We enjoyed every single one of those cherries and peaches, let me tell you. And it just showed me completely that God knows me inside and out. I mean, think of all the steps that had to happen for me to get all that fruit. First the one store had to have the crazy sale in the first place. Then, I had to go shopping at a store I never go to in order to get the price matching policy. THEN I had to have the cashier who already knew about this sale flyer, because I certainly didn't, and didn't have one with me. And when all was said and done to have the exact amount of money needed in my wallet to make the purchase... God surely does good things.
And so this morning I am reminded to be thankful for the small things. As I gaze toward my dining room I see twenty quarts of freshly made pickles, and I am so, so thankful. My kids love pickles, and those will be very welcome in the weeks and months to come. I am thankful this morning for the great love that God continues to shower on my family. I daresay He loves my kids more than I do, and He proves it almost every single day. And for that, I am eternally thankful and amazed. For they are the tender grapes in my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.