If it is really a truth, it can be found anywhere. The Scripture says, “Whatever things are true...if anything worthy of praise...let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Sometimes I find it in unexpected places. I came across a truth on the last corner of the cover of my college alumni magazine. A young professional, a graduate of the college, wrote,
“I think of my life as a very small plot of land that's been given to me, that I didn't make, and I can't sustain by myself. I want this little plot to reflect God's glory, and so long as I can accomplish this [through her God-given gift and academic training in the arts] I'll continue to explore it thoughtfully and share the experience with others.”
Good stuff! A worthy analogy. I want to explore its application to my own life—perhaps the reader can find it has meaning for himself/herself as well. It fits into the theme of my recent blog posts. What difference does my life make anyway? Is my “footprint” of any significance?
What have I been doing with that “little plot of land” that is my life? For sure my life and my circumstances were given to me by the Lord. They are not of my own making, and I can't till the ground by myself; I need the help of others. Am I neglecting to plow and plant my life-plot just because it's little and so leave the ground unplowed? Perhaps it is larger than I know! God expects me to bloom where He planted me; He chose the location and my orbit of influence. He has given me the “tools” to make it fruitful.
Is my little plot reflecting God's glory? Am I sharing the fruits of my spiritual experience with others to draw them to God? Or have I looked down on my gift and my scant opportunities and buried them in the ground like the one talent hidden in a napkin in Jesus' parable?
Cultivation takes planning and work and time. Weeds grow rapidly by themselves, but crops must be patiently sown and cared for.
I admit that I don't have trouble with the planning. It tends to be my strong point. I'm good at setting goals long term and short term, aiming for deadlines, charting my course full steam ahead. But I realize people are different and not everyone does that. Some just let life happen and then they respond to it. My strong point may also be my weak point. I'm inclined to make my own plans, to map it all out, and try to control the outcome in my time frame. I'm sort of a mover and shaker.
James 4:13-16 is my flashing red light.
“Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.' But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” James put his finger on our incredible presumption that we know what the future holds, even short term. Only God is all-knowing.
Yes, I'm responsible for my little plot in life. Yes, I should plan and not just merrily row, row my boat gently down the stream. God has given us all free will; we don't dance like puppets dangling on a His string. He has given us minds and judgment and choice with that freedom so we can plan. “Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails” (Prov. 19:21). A man's mind plans [devises, designs] his way but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure [establishes them]” (16:19).
God allows me to plan and devise and work my little plot in life in a way that seems good to me and as if it all depended on me. At the same time I should not be so presumptive as to take the future for granted. “If God wills” I shall cultivate my plot in stewardship because He owns it and has placed me here for His time frame and purpose. I happily understand that the Lord is over all and directs my efforts in the way that I should go!