Monthly Archives: February 2019

The parable of the hanging basket.

I am still meditating on Psalm 23, “He restores my soul.” At the same time I am reading a book called “Why we sleep.” by Matthew Walker. He talks about sleep restoring our brain. This is not like a quick vitamin B injection, it takes time. He gives a good argument for eight hours sleep a night.

I know my relationship with God requires time spent with him but for some reason time often runs away with me and I skip that quiet time in the morning. Why is it so much easier to rush around doing the urgent and ignoring the important? Some important things, like sleep, have their own reminders. Stay up too late and your body tells you you are tired. Forget to feed the cats and they’ll be sure to let you know about it. Other things, like exercising or spending time with God have no such cues.

In our garden we have two hanging plants. They each have a little pipe with a dripper which connects them to the watering system.

dav

Yesterday I noticed that the pipe had come out of the geranium’s pot and was hanging loose. Despite being disconnected from the water supply, the leaves were still green and looked healthy. However, I know very well what would have happened if I hadn’t noticed for a week or two.

dead leaf

God can’t restore my soul if I don’t give him time to do it. Just like my plant, one or two days without the water of life might not make any discernible difference but for a prolonged period, the signs would be obvious. I would become more selfish, more sensitive,  and a worse version of myself. I hope I take this parable to heart as I continue to try to organise my 2019.

Christian Servanthood re-enforced

The year started with many subtle and not so subtle confirmations of the servant theme God was talking to me about. The most astounding of these happened soon after we arrived home from New Zealand. My youngest South African grandchild (5) had been shown a science experiment at school and given a little packet to reproduce it at home. It involved lifting up an ice cube with a piece of string. Naturally, her brother and sister wanted to do it too so I got four side plates for us to do our experiment on. It involved wetting the string, placing it on the ice cube and covering it with salt. Our first experiment didn’t work, I suspect because my freezer was not yet up and running and the only ice cubes we could find in my daughters house were very small and half melted by the time we had assembled everything. The children then decided they were hungry and wanted to make car sandwiches which has become almost a tradition when they visit Granny. This required another three side plates.

By the time I thought of making cheese sandwiches for my husband and myself for supper, there were only two side plates left in the cupboard. The very bottom one I had never seen before. It had the covenant prayer of John Wesley printed on it.

davOne would have to be very obtuse not to get the message.

I found out later that when my son had vacated the bachelor pad prior to going to Russia on a teaching contract, he had brought some crockery to my husband who had integrated it into our general supply. It seems like we had never come to the end of the pile of side plates in eighteen months and I had never come across this memento plate before. God moves in mysterious ways. I wonder what this year is going to hold. I can almost guarantee I am going to grow.

P.S We did get the science experiment to work the following day when we had decent ice cubes.

Christian Servanthood

During December and early January my husband and I were in New Zealand to visit our son and his family and to explore.

While exploring, we visited church’s where we were at. As Christmas drew near, I was struck by Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” she said.

While I was still mulling over this, we attended the Hamilton Central Baptist Church where a missionary working in Papua New Guinea, Grant Dixon, told us what it meant to be a servant.

I was so struck by what he said that it has become the foundation of the start to my New Year. The following is a summary.

  1. As a servant, I am not the master. Jesus is.
  2. Serving is what servants do.
  3. Servants are under authority and cannot abuse the trust of the master.
  4. As I serve God, I serve others and as I serve others, I serve God.
  5. Servants don’t choose what they do. they can only choose the attitude in which they do it.
  6. Serving and giving don’t come naturally. We have to choose to do it.
  7. Serving often entails hard work, long term application, even suffering.

As part of the message Grant read the covenant prayer by John Wesley.

servant

I was particularly struck by point number five. Servants don’t choose what they do.

My husband has been a Gideon for over thirty-five years but I have always regarded it as his passion and calling, not mine. Although I totally believe in the handing out of bibles leading to the salvation of many, there are things about he organisation that I don’t like. A woman can not join the Gideons. If her husband is a Gideon, she may join the Auxiliary which is composed of wives of Gideons. She may not speak in church or to a Gideon meeting, but only to Auxiliary gatherings. As a qualified local preacher of the Methodist Church, a silver level Toastmaster and a woman of the twenty-first century, I found this very old-fashioned. Moreover, in South Africa, the Gideons are strongly dominated by Afrikaans Christians. Trainings and zone meetings are conducted in Afrikaans and although I understand the language, I don’t feel comfortable in those situations.

Last year the president of our Auxiliary begged me to come onto the Cabinet as vice president and, perhaps foolishly, I said I would pray about it. Some three days later in my quiet time the following verse jumped out of the page in my face, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” (Col 1:25) Just to make sure, three days later, I read the following in my quiet time, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Tim 3:16). I think I’d have to be very obtuse not to get the message. so I became vice president more from obedience than any passion.

Now I have been reminded that a servant does not choose what she does, just the attitude in which she does it. Moreover the covenant prayer says, “Rank me with whom you will.” That includes Afrikaans people belonging to an old fashioned organisation.

So 2019 will be the year of learning to be a servant. It won’t come easy as it goes against all my inclinations but I know that Christ will strengthen me even in my attitude. May my attitude be gratitude.

Psalm 23

I feel like a limp rag doll at the moment. I read Psalm 23 this morning and was struck by the phrase , “He restores my soul.” My soul is in need of restoration.

Lord please breathe your life and energy into my soul, into my body, into my mind, into my emotions. Thank you for leading me besides quiet waters where there is no threat, no danger and all I need to do is hold Your hand and follow.