LIVE IN THE SEASON!

When I think of living in the season, the first thing my mind turns to is the Preacher in Scripture and his admonition that “for everything there is a season”.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reads:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;…

In Psalm 104:27-28 we read:

These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

Eating “in-season” … it’s Scriptural and, therefore, we should take a good hard look at it!

When we were in England several years ago, my Daughter-in-Love received a box every week from a nearby farmer with vegetables that were just then harvested by him.  Many of them I had never seen before, let alone eaten, but he put in recipes and directions about how to prepare the vegetables in the box.  I thought, then, that it would be fun to get vegetables from farmers instead of only in grocery stores.

Later, there were so many stories of Hep C, bacterias, and all sorts of illnesses traceable to tainted food, so I decided to check out getting produce from a nearby farm to minimize the number of hands that touched the produce that we ultimately ate at our dinner table.

Eggplant, Zucchini, Summer Squash and Acorn Squash from vegetable box.
Eggplant, Zucchini, Summer Squash and Acorn Squash from vegetable box.

I did some reading and discovered the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement.  Basically, you buy a share of the farmer’s crop by paying a monetary amount in January or February, thus becoming a shareholder in the crop for the year.  Then, when the farmer’s produce begins coming in, you receive a box of vegetables directly from the farmer once per week.  The box contains some of each of the crops ready for harvest so you are eating with the seasons.  And, you receive some vegetables that you may never have purchased in the grocery store, thereby expanding your culinary tastes to include more veggies than corn!

Juicy Tomatoes from vegetable box.
Juicy Tomatoes from vegetable box.

We decided to participate in a CSA and then looked for one we liked near our city.  We found The Colvin Family Farm.  You can learn about them from their website at http://www.colvinfamilyfarm.com.  The most wonderful surprise was that this is a Christian family-owned farm and they use the farm as a witness to the grace of the Lord and His providential bounty.  The farmer’s wife has a blog, fittingly entitled The Farmer’s Wife, where she details life on the farm for her big family,  where she describes the various crops are and how to use the vegetables in the box, and also where she provides a witness to her love for the Lord and His grace in her life.  (The blog for this week talked about living spicy, with various peppers!) http://tnfarmerswife.blogspot.com/

We received our vegetable box today and I was prompted to think about living in the moment.  Eating in season, eating what the Lord has provided today, not craving for what will be coming later.  Being satisfied with today’s provision.  For some, this is a very different mindset.

Cucumber, Curley Kale and Tomato from vegetable box.
Cucumber, Curley Kale and Tomato from vegetable box.

The Hebrews in the wilderness learned this lesson when the Lord provided manna and quails for them to eat.  In Exodus 16:15-26 we read about when the people were first introduced to manna.  It was found on the ground in the morning and they were instructed to gather enough for each person in their house to eat for that day.  They were not to save anything for the next day, unless it was the Sabbath – if they were to do so, in the morning they would find worms and decay rather than fresh manna.

In other words, they were instructed to eat one day at a time – and to eat what was provided in-season for them.  Later, when they were no longer in the wilderness, the Lord instituted the feast of first-fruits where the people were to offer the first fruits from the harvest to the Lord.  They still ate in-season.

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus said that we should not worry about tomorrow, about what we should eat or wear, because our Heavenly Father knows that we need these things and they will be provided.

Eggplant, Cucumber, Yellow and Purple Peppers from vegetable box.
Eggplant, Cucumber, Yellow and Purple Peppers from vegetable box.

Eating our vegetables from the box has been fun for us and it has taught us a renewed appreciation for the variety that God has provided for food in His world.  I would encourage you to consider participating in a CSA.  Alternatively, I would encourage you to eat vegetables that you can purchase from farmer’s markets as they will be fresh and the variety from the crops will encourage some tasty changes to your family’s menu!

Praise the Lord for the provision of food that is found in abundance and in a variety that creates exciting mealtime adventures.

SECURITY – WHERE DO YOU FIND IT?

Remembering a childhood over half a century ago (okay, I am legitimately old at least in my children’s opinion), we could ride bikes throughout the city without fear.  No mobile phone, no texting, no lunch!

We find Mayberry’s Andy and Opie humorous and we remember when life was like “Leave it to Beaver” – generally carefree and congenial.  But that was then, not now.  Security seems to be something that we long for and search after more these days than ever before.  For good reason, some would argue … more violent crimes; more terrorist activity; more drug related crimes; more … and the list could go on ad nauseum.

I don’t know if there is actually “more” of these activities than in the past, but I do know that these events are more readily visible now.  We have our cell phones and ipods with built in cameras that take video of offending activity as it occurs – no matter where in the world it is taking place.  Yes, it seems that there is more reason for security measures than in the past.

Cuddles asleep on heart pillow
Cuddles asleep on heart pillow

We can have guard dogs to attack anyone trying to get into our home.  (Okay, Cuddles is hardly the sterling example of a guard dog as she is reclining on her heart pillow, but if there was an intruder ….!)

We can hire security firms to put locks and sensors on the doors and windows of the house.  We put our valuables in safe deposit boxes.  We put our money at the bank. We go to the doctor even though we know that the body is aging and that there is a limit to what medicine can do.

In Matthew 6:19, Jesus tells us that we should not focus on gathering treasures here on earth where they are only temporary.  Rather, we should lay up treasures in heaven. In short, eternal treasures trump earthly ones every time! In verse 25 Jesus says that we should not be anxious about our life—what we should eat or drink or about what we should wear.

In giving these illustrations, Jesus has covered the waterfront of necessities – food, drink, and clothing.  He then says that God knows we need such things. If we are not to be anxious over necessities, we certainly should not be anxious over the frivolous add-ons that take up so much of our attention.

Our job is to focus on putting our treasures in the kingdom of God.  We are to seek His kingdom and His righteousness … and the rest will be added to us from God.  Matthew 6:25-34.

The writer of Proverbs says “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”  (Proverbs 12:25)  I suggest that many of us can verify the truth of this statement!

Paul says: “[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7.  If we do this, verse 6 promises that we will the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. This doesn’t mean that we ignore what we need or what situation or circumstance faces us; we just are not to stress over it.

Do we want security?  I suggest that we rest in God’s arms.  Lose the anxiety and worry; the fret and cares.  Hand them to God through prayer and then let Him exchange your cares for His peace.  Focus on His kingdom, rather than this world.

Snickers asleep on Daddy's lap.
Snickers asleep on Daddy’s lap.

I realize that no analogy is foolproof and I don’t want this to be misunderstood – but when I visualize resting in God’s arms, I can’t help but see it illustrated in our canine children.  Snickers falls asleep, and snores, when laying on my husband’s lap – tummy fully exposed and head dropped back with eyes virtually glued shut.  Vulnerable? Yes.  Relaxed?  Yes.  Scared?  No.  She is secure in the arms of one who loves her and will care for her.

So, the question is — do you trust in things of this world, or in the God who created this world?

Where do you find your security?