It was a tiring afternoon. I was quite busy placing red checks beside completed orders, red Q’s for material/items quoted. I really wanted to grab some Caribou coffee so I could make it through the afternoon. Something about the taste of the Northern Moose coffee, really animated me… But I glanced at the blinking light indicating all my missed calls and the 18 unread emails in my inbox. No, Mr. Moose would just need to wait until later.
It was at that moment, when a coworker, (also friend and pastor of a church) comes and sits at my desk. can’t you see the intensity ebbing off of me? I’m busy! I’ve got a thousand things to do!
“So….” He says, with a long, dramatic pause, “I was at my mother-in-law’s house the other day..) oh glory…this might take awhile.. and I was cutting her grass oh friend, I’ve really got so much to do and while I was cutting her grass, there was a crop duster oh, I love those crop duster planes, they always seem to be painted bright yellow! and this plane, weeks earlier had been spreading seed all across the farm just a street distance away from my mother-in-laws house. Well today, while I was going about cutting, pulling, killing weeds, I stopped under a large tree in her yard. And Shelby, there, in between two large tree roots, was a small weed growing. weed..I think one of my customer’s does medicinal weed, I gotta ask him about that So, by this tree, yards away from where the plane threw it, is this little plant growing between these two roots.
How is it possible that small seed– so far away from it’s intended spot– has come to find itself in this yard, under a large tree, growing between two roots. I’m here to tell you, Shelby, it was God. God wanted that little seed to make it. So, God said to that little seed, LIVE. And the seed lived.” At this, I turn, now interested finally, and I toss around what he just said. You know, it is pretty cool that the seed was growing, between two roots and all.. What are the chances, what’s the probability of that happening?
And my friend continues on, starting to work through the beginnings of a Sunday sermon, but I interrupt his thoughts.
“What about the little seed? Did you pull it up or let it live?”
That’s all I needed to be taken away from the list of things to do on my desk. The satisfying red checks, the blinking telephone light, all the tasks, all the busy-ness… Circumstances have a way of keeping us distracted. Most of the time, those circumstances can lend themselves towards productivity, towards satisfied customers, and a job well done at work. We strive to succeed in this- to bring home a bigger biscuit, to get to that new level, to do that thing we’ve never done.
Sometimes it’s ourselves that do the distracting. We create work, we create problems, arouse our friends to feel the sympathies of a person with entirely too much on their plate.
There are some, a rare breed in my opinion, who find within themselves an incredible focus and drive. They do not become distracted by their circumstances; they are productive machines; they’re efficient and have written out their second to do list by the time I’ve crossed one thing off of mine.
Yes, most of us are driven by circumstance though there is the occasional who dominates in spite of circumstance. Some of you reading this blog can relate to me—my eyes grow tired at the demanding pace my managers push me to perform at. It’s not that we can’t do the job, we’re competitive. We like seeing how far we can push ourselves, we set daily goals, monthly goals, and have endless lists of conquered mountaintops and new victories we long to acquire. Yes, the potential for greatness lies within us. But, for some reason, there always seem to be barriers to our growth. We lack resources, knowledge, capital, mentorship… We know it. We’re ridden by student loans, we’ve got a job with no flexibility, we’re constantly in the middle of conflicts. We tire out, we can’t seem to figure out why our personalities don’t mesh, when the problem began. We feel it in our souls, or at the very least, I feel it.
I carry my coin purse- my tiny dreams, goals, aspirations right there in my trouser pocket every day. I hold onto that coin bag in my pocket, occasionally pulling it out. I want to show my friends. But when I do, they laugh. Why do you like that? Is that really something you’re interested in? So, you actually think that’s a good idea? They mock my quirky, dopey coin purse of hopes. So I clasp my hand over it, shove it hard back into my pockets. I try to pretend it’s not there; but yet, I feel the weight of it. The textured fabric, rounded off edges… I know the truth. You don’t belong here. The coin purse is for the pocket. Not meant to be shown.
But you pull it out anyways, daring.. hoping. Waiting for the day when someone will take sincere delight in the contents of your coin purse.
My preacher-coworker-friend stopped by desk one crazy afternoon when I felt to busy to be anything but a cog in a machine. I wasn’t listenting. I was irritated. I felt like he was wasting my time. But he told me a story about a seed.
This seed, having fallen farther than the intended soil, in an unlikely place, against all the odds, found a way to grow. Although many would say, the conditions were still right- there was fertile soil under the tree. Yea, the roots posed a bit of a problem, but in the end, the seed held within itself the promise of a mature plant. And so, even despite the circumstances, or maybe because of the circumstances, the little seed grew into a plant. We forget though, the tiny detail, my friend mentioned at the end.
God wanted the seed to grow. It’s not polite, it’s usually offensive, and the fact falls on apathetic listeners, I know.
But make no mistake. The seed grew because God created that seed, knew the seed among the circumstances, and caused the growth. There were obstacles, the foundation wasn’t ideal, but God works with roots and bad soil. He works with seeds among weeds. He is the creator, sustainer, namely Giver of Life. So, when you find yourself, caught by circumstance and trapped by distraction- place your faith in God, the giver of growth. You are small, yes. Your coin purse is likely tucked away in an old box in the attic, or long since forgotten about. But God knows your potential. God knows all your dreams. He designed you to Live. Created you for life. Made a path even though we all fell much farther away than we could have anticipated. He knew there would be challenges, obstacles, sometimes unfathomable barriers to us living.
But I say to you what was said to me,
God wants you to really live. So Live.