Sunday, January 23, 2011

Of God and Gardening...

My Mom forwarded me an email with this story:

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. "The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.

By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.

"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

How often have we done something wrong and wanted desperately to hide the mistake? How often have we felt like Jim - head hanging in shame - thinking that we have screwed up beyond help? How often have we BEEN the other executives...? -- Trying to hide our mistakes and pretend we haven't messed up?

Unfortunately, while you can fool the world for a while... you can't hide from God.

That's part of what being omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient means...!

Whoever said "honestly is the best policy" is definitely referring to Jim. Honesty can be embarrassing, shaming, and hard, but it is what God expects from us. Off all the commandments God gave, LYING was one of the "Big 10."

Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.
Leviticus 19:11

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:23-27

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
Proverbs 12:22

Courage and honesty is rewarded. If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. And if you plant hard work, you will reap success.

And those plants will thrive.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

If 7-year olds ruled the world...

My kids have a new app on their iTouches called "POCKET GOD." It's a game where you get to "be God" and rule over an island controlling everything. All I have to say is after watching Luke play this, it's a GOOD THING that 7-year olds don't control the world!!! Luke's favorite thing to do is SMITE his island inhabitants (for no good reason) with bolts of lightning. The little pygmies incinerate into ashes and "God-Luke" moves on to another hapless victim.

I joke with my friends about "Maggie's World" all of the time - "In Maggie's World, those idiot drivers would be eliminated..." "In Maggie's World, that would NOT happen!" It's gotten to be a running joke by now - this magical place where it's all about me and everything runs according to MY plan. There is even a newly-created MagsWorld Blog where I'm just posting the funny, obnoxious, (and hopefully!) witty things that make me laugh.

But the reality is that, despite how awesome it would be, the world does NOT revolve around me. Or you... Or you. And thankfully, MERCIFULLY, none of us are the ones holding the Smite Stick. God is infinitely patient, infinitely wise, and overwhelmingly generous. He overlooks our (numerous!) faults, and He forgives our (un-ending!) mistakes.

The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands)
those who take refuge and trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7 (AMP)

If God was a rigid as I want to be in "Maggie's World," the only one happy... would me. And that makes for a terrible "God." Our God is GOOD... all the time. He is not swayed by selfish desires or urges to manipulate those for fun or given to smiting people for no good reason.

So when things get crummy (and believe me, sometimes, things can suck beyond the telling of it!), remember that it's not a mortal with a God-complex running the show. It is really GOD... our all-powerful, all-knowing, generous, benevolent God.

And thank GOD for that.
:) Mags
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Found God in New Year's Resolutions...

Honestly, I hate those "New Year's Resolutions...!" People make them... then break them... then lament that they were impossible resolutions to keep in the first place. Often, these same "resolutions" resurface in the spring when people "give something up for Lent" - because this time, it's temporary... vs. that pesky January resolution that supposed to last the whole year.


I saw a wonderful post on a friend's Facebook page earlier this month. It talked about how every year, we go through periods where we overtly give THANKS for the blessings in our lives: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. But he wondered how hard we, ourselves, work at being someone for which those around us are thankful...?

Perhaps a good resolution for all of us to consider would be God's golden rule: to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves. What if, this year, we were the kind of person that others are thankful for? Because wouldn't it be awesome if, come November at someone else's Thanksgiving table, YOU were the person they were grateful to?

Jesus gave of himself selflessly. What small things can you do in 2011 that will allow you to give a few extra minutes of your time, a few extra dollars from your wallet, or a few extra prayers from your heart?

May God bless you and your family,
:) Mags
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