- Of course, there's the wedding! October 24th rushes closer every day.
- Lots of travel for speaking engagements. I got to spend this past weekend in Nasheville. My dear friend, Brenda, lined me up to speak for the women's conference at her church. Women's conference and time with a best friend? Ah-mazing!!!
- Our missions trip to Padova, Italy is less than one month away.
- Frank and I are watching as a personal miracle unfolds. (More about that when it's all settled.)
- It's summer. So something is going on at church almost every week. VBS starts next Monday.
Well, you get the idea.
But at the conference, a couple of the ladies came up to talk with me after my first sermon. They were convinced that I must have heard the message their pastor had preached the Sunday before.
"Your sermon just tied in perfectly with what Pastor said! We were listening with our mouths hanging open!" They nodded in unison.
I assured them I hadn't heard their pastor's message. But it sounded like maybe God had something He wanted their ladies to understand if He sent me from FL with the same thoughts.
They then told me of a parable he used. And it's so good that I just had to share it with the Embrace the Grace family.
It seems a farmer went to a wise man to discuss his problems. The crops were not doing well for anyone in that area. A drought was draining the entire valley. Bills were mounting. Everyone was under extreme pressure. The farmer, a leader in the community, was distressed and considering giving up his life profession.
The wise man talked with the farmer for a few minutes then asked him to put water in the three pots sitting on his stove. They discussed the difficulties the farmer was facing and the decision before him as the wise man moved about in the tiny kitchen.
When the water in the three pots finally came to a boil, the wise man asked the farmer to drop a carrot in the first pot. He then handed him an egg for the second and a tea bag for the third.
Continuing to share his fears, the farmer complied absentmindedly.
"Everyone is depending on me to know what to do!" exclaimed the distraught man. "The entire community seems to be looking to me and I'm afraid we're going to lose everything!"
Without answering, the wise man reached for a spoon standing in a can near his stove. Slowly and in quiet tones he began to speak as he fished the carrot from the pot.
"See this boiling water?" he asked simply. By this time, the water was rolling wildly in each of the three pots. "Look at what it did to this carrot." The wise man laid the carrot on the stove top and mashed it easily with the back of the spoon. "The carrot turned to mush."
He reached into the second pot to retrieve the egg. "And this egg?" he tapped it lightly on the porcelain top. The cracking sound was clear. "The egg hardened."
With that, the wise man dipped the spoon in the third pot and brought out the single tea bag. "But the tea bag? Well...." he smiled ever so slightly. "It seems the tea bag has changed the water, now doesn't it?"
The wise man laid his gnarled hand gently on the the shoulder of his friend. "It's the same water boiling in all three pots. The difference is the item in the pot. Life's troubles impact us all. We must choose. Will we be like the carrot and allow the difficulties to cause us to fall apart? Will we become hardened by the pressure like this egg?"
He turned and slowly poured the fragrant tea into a battered old cup. "Or will we bring change to our circumstances? Will we use the trouble to help release something inside us that we didn't even know we had?"
"The boiling water changed the carrot and the egg. But the tea bag changed the water."
Father, give us all the courage we need. Help us face the difficulties while determining not to fall apart. Not to become hardened or bitter. But determined to impact the circumstances we find ourselves in and create something positive instead!
May we all serve as change agents in our world today!