Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion June 20, 2018

I don’t know what it is like for any of the rest of you, but here on the East Coast it is hot. As in scorching hot.  As in not even cooling off at night hot.  As in there is no breeze and the air is stagnant and it is miserable hot.  As in there is no rain in sight hot.
So you understand the current climate where I live is hot.  When I first moved here I noticed that everything that was scheduled outside in the summer either took place very early in the morning and ended around lunch time or took place later in the evening past supper time.  It was curious since the culture from where I came most things started later in the morning and went until supper time….  
As anytime you move to a different location there are things you have to learn and now I know why activities here are scheduled as they are.  It is just too hot in the afternoons to do anything.  I was use to the hottest part of the day being around noon and then began to cool off  and now it just keeps on getting hotter until day is done......
Adjustments in my thinking had to be made and none of us like to have to change how we think…… (insert a smiley face here!)
I looked at the weather forecast and realized that the days upcoming were just going to get hotter and hotter and hotter and there was no rain in sight and the evenings and night were not getting any cooler and i looked out my kitchen window at my lettuce patch and realized that the lettuce was going to have to go.
We have a small garden behind our house.  I didn’t want a big garden because the days of ‘putting up’ the proceeds from the garden were not something I wanted to do, or really needed, to do.  Back when I was younger and my husband and I were first married and we were full of youthful energy we went into gardening big time.  Our house had a huge back yard and we decided to take about a 1/4 of it and turn it into our vegetable plot.  We even planted a plethora of fruit trees and berry bushes.  
There were rows of tomatoes that we had grown from seed cause we were young and thought we were really going to be pioneers about this food growing plan.  We had lettuce and green peppers and green beans and peas and corn and cucumbers and zucchini (which I quickly realized was almost a plague because it grows like wildfire and everyone has it and you can only make so much zucchini bread because you find out your husband doesn’t like zucchini….) and our fruit trees and bushes yielded many kinds of berries (this is also where we learned that the sainted husband was highly allergic to fresh strawberries) and peaches and pears and apples....  
We planted and hoed and had a great yield and I spent weeks canning and freezing and such and we felt very accomplished!  
But now I am older and realize I can buy green beans that are just as good with none of the work so gardening because something enjoyable with a minimal amount of work.  I like a few fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for my cucumber/tomato sandwiches and the green peppers are good for some stuffed green peppers and salads….  No canning or preserving involved and that is fine with me cause there are grocery stores within 5 minutes……
And then there is the lettuce. I don’t even put a whole lot of effort into the lettuce.  I just take an edge of the garden and sprinkle some seeds from the packet and that is it.  I give it a little water and before too long there is lettuce.  And more lettuce.  And more lettuce.  People avoid me because I am always asking them if they want lettuce.  I take bags of it to the church and encourage people to take lettuce. 
But it is now approaching the end of June and I look at the weather forecast and I know that lettuce is a cooler weather crop and if I don’t harvest what is left now it will wilt and turn brown and no one will benefit from the humongous lettuce yield I get every year.  After all I have been eating fresh lettuce (as have my close friends and family and anyone else I can give lettuce to) for almost 2 months now and I think that is pretty good.
Out I went with my plastic Walmart bag (which I use for just about everything around the house…..) and I began to pull up my lettuce plants and stack them beside my plastic chair until all that is left in that area of my garden is some leaf remnants and dirt that I quickly hoed so that it looked nice and neat and ready for next year's lettuce seed.  Looked pretty sadly empty but then I looked at the stack of plants by my chair and I sat down and began to pull lettuce leaves from the plants.
Now remember there is a huge stack of plants by my chair and the plants are pretty much still covered with tasty lettuce leaves, but I still sit very meticulously pulling each leaf off the plant, pinching off the smallest bit of brown and retaining the remainder of the leaf.  I do this with each plant and each leaf when the sainted husband wanders by and reminds me that I have lots of lettuce leaves and if I threw away the ones with brown on them i would still have plenty of lettuce.  He is right of course, and even though I try I just can’t do it….. 
My lettuce harvesting continues as I take each leaf and pinch off the slight imperfections and put the remnants in my bag ready to take inside and stand at the kitchen sink and wash each leaf individually and place them on paper towels to dry so that they can become delicious salads for myself and the sainted husband and all of the other people I will offer my many bags of freshly picked lettuce….
Yes, the allusion is obvious but something we need to be constantly reminded of. We are just like those lettuce leaves.  God picks us out from the world around us at just the right time, helps us work through those little (or often humongous) imperfections, claims us as his, washes us off and allows us to be used for his kingdom and his purposes.  
We need to be constantly assured of our specialness to God who wants not only the very best for us, but helps us to be the very best for him.  That lettuce would not do anyone any good if it were just harvested and just thrown back into the dirt…. the lettuce receives its value from what it can do - provide delicious additions to peoples meals at it is put on sandwiches or added as a garnish or providing the basis for a scrumptious salad.  
So sit up straight and feel good about who you are.  You are God’s special lettuce, chosen by him, cleansed by him, gifted by him and used by him!