Just A Little Trowel

January 20, 2017
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Jeremiah 17:8 – He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (NIV)

God gives us different abilities, and mine is gardening. Our property lies beside the road and can be seen by strangers passing by. From spring to fall I'm outside, trowel in hand. The perennials obediently come into bloom every year exactly on time. In a country garden, there are no rules except that no earth can be visible. Bare earth grows weeds, and my "babies" started from seed wouldn't survive. Transplanting in July is a challenge. I watch carefully. Summer is unpredictable, and in dry weather, only the strongest survive. This past summer was a challenge because of drought. There were no vegetables to share, and flowers succumbed to the heat. In the fall, shrubs need to be protected from cold damage and enemy rabbits. As I ready my garden for winter, I feel sad bidding my "friends" farewell.

In all of this, I am reminded that however hard I work, I can't make any of it happen without God's hand. He created the huge variety of flowers; He makes the seeds sprout; He sends the seasons in order; He sends or withholds the sun and the rain; and He tops it all off with birds and butterflies for our gardening pleasure. I need to guard against being too proud of my work.

Unfortunately, King Nebuchnezzar fell into the trap of pride. He built the beautiful gardens of Babylon and made the mistake of thinking that he'd done it all himself. He dreamed that he was a tree that was chopped down, but that didn't stop him from being immensely proud. Pride goes before a fall is straight from the Bible in Proverbs 18:12. God took his kingdom away from him for seven years, until he acknowledged the Lord in heaven.

I like this quotation attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta: "I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world." Whether pencil, trowel, or whatever our tool, let us remember that God is working through us, using us to show the world His glory. Let's humble ourselves before Him in adoration. He takes pleasure when we enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done, when we share our blessings with others, and when we use our skill to glorify Him. That's "good fruit".

Prayer: Father, forgive us for sometimes starting to believe that we ourselves are responsible for creating something good. Help us to remember that You give us the skill, and You supply everything we need to do a job that glorifies You and You alone. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie86@gmail.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the good word JJ.

    Thank you for helping us to recognize again how the Lord works in us and through us.

    Beautiful images of your garden started my day. I too derive great pleasure gardening. It is where I can meet, and talk to, God while enjoying His creation.
    Thank you,

    I loved the quote by Mother Theresa. We opened a bnb last August and it’s been an absolute joy to host the lovely people we meet. I feel God working within me as I do my best to serve my guests and I love the happy response. I am a little pencil!

    Thank you for sharing your devotional that reminds one that all that we do and are is due to God’s help. Often we are like Nebuchnezzar, believing we can do everything completely on our own when the truth we must acknowledge is that we need our Heavenly Father’s help/guidance in all that we do!
    Continue to write and share your devotionals!

    Thank you JJ for the devotional,
    I especially appreciated the quotation attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta : about being a pencil.
    I also enjoyed your prayer.
    There is a considerable use of “sowing” and “reaping” in the Bible. Maybe we can hear from you again using your garden as a spring-board.

    This was a great devotional.
    Thanks for writing it!

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