We are His Workmanship

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

We live during a time that many are uneasy about the future as plans and lives have been put on hold. In our modern time, we have connected our jobs and “life goals” to our sense of fulfillment and sense of self with to a high degree, and I believe, to our mental detriment.

Fulfillment, I have found, is found in varied places. That sense of sublime joy that comes from a deep place; a connection to God and His divine plan for our lives, is already within us. I have found it flowing from being a husband, a father, helping those in need, being helped when I’ve been in need, acting on something I’ve believed was asked of my by God for reasons I don’t understand although outside my normal routine, sacrificing the “now” for future security, dirt-bike riding, playing with a dog, rebuilding an engine, studying history, etc.

There are things that that will bring great fulfillment to you, I believe, that are all around and are natural to your state, for example; parenting; if you find yourself a parent, then great fulfillment can be found by working to excel in that state.
If you find yourself a caretaker for a loved one, great fulfillment can be found by excelling at being such.
Often times the thing that we are supposed to be doing and fulfilled by is the thing right before us.

When God sent Moses to Egypt to bring the Israelites to Canaan land, Moses used his shepherd’s staff. He used it to perform miracles, to part the Red Sea, and more. He used the thing that had been part of his nature; his shepherd’s staff, and God used him.

What is in your hand today? Not a staff, but maybe something else that’s particular to you. It’s probable that God placed you in the natural state you’re in right now for a particular purpose and reason that if acted on with faith and perseverance, will bring great fulfillment and satisfaction.

Grandma’s Cherry Tree

My wife and children and I picked cherries, filling up plastic bags, as Grandma also picked some. Grandma was happy as we all worked to harvest the tree that grew in her small front yard.

We ate cherries as we picked and laughed together. Grandma told stories of my mother and uncle picking cherries decades before from the same tree.

As we picked, I had a sinking feeling this could be the last time we would pick cherries with Grandma. But at the same time my heart was filled with gratefulness that my children got to experience time with my Grandma, their Grandma and the love she had for children and really anyone in want.

Grandma always had something to give to her own and outsiders. The more in want someone was, the more she had to give. The cherry tree was a simple testament to Grandmas charitable heart. Any passerby might have all the cherries they wanted to eat, even harvesting some to take along, and Grandma wouldn’t mind.

Although the cherries were enjoyed by strangers, the tree wasn’t planted for them. The tree was planted for Grandma’s children and grandchildren by Grandma herself.

When my grandparents bought the home to raise their family in and run their business out of, Grandma planted the tree with the express intent of growing a tree for generations to pick cherries from.

Grandma had a wisdom about giving and loving. When my wife and I were young newlyweds and had experienced some financial success, Grandma invited us over to give some advise. She said, “don’t expect or ask for repayment of whatever you lend to friend and family, consider it in your heart a gift and never bring it up whether it’s repaid or not”. She went on to explain that friendship and family are more important than money, and that there’s always more money, but not always more family or friends.

My wife and I took that to heart over the years and have followed it as a rule, to the benefit of many relationships in our life.

My grandparents owned an appliance business of which I grew up working in over summer breaks.

Many a time I can remember overhearing Grandma discounting or giving away appliances to some poor single mother or family in poverty. I remember her never charging any pastor or church for an appliance, no matter their affiliation.

That’s not to say her business skills were lacking, on the contrary, Grandma was a shrewd and profitable woman, always seeing business opportunity. She would negotiate down to the last penny on her purchases and hold the line on every negotiation.

But if those that lost to her in negotiations only knew the secret, which was if Grandma thought them in need or want, mistreated in way, she would have given up her position in an instant. Grandma was the perpetual champion of the underdog.

The squirrels knew. As a teenager I remember arriving at Grandma’s house as she fed the squirrels from her hand. They would climb up her leg, onto her lap for her to hand feed them nuts and treats. She had the neighborhood squirrels as lap pets whenever she was outside. The neighborhood cats knew too, as she would leave food out or milk for any cat that seemed to her in need.

That was Grandma; she always had something, some money or food, for anyone in need. She had someone’s rent payment, electric bill, ready to pay for them whenever they asked. Some might say she was being used, but she would say she loved.

Grandma’s cherry tree is dead now, it died the winter she was buried. Those cherries we picked together with her were the last anyone would eat of that tree’s fruit. It died, the leaves fell and branches turned brittle. The tree, like Grandma, is gone now.

The tree is gone, but the gesture of love remains. The memories and the legacy live on. Grandma has gone on, but the love and values live on, and hopefully we, her children, will love and give as she did; loving the least of these.

Never forget September 10, 2001.

On September 10, 2001, we could still greet our loved ones as they came off airplanes, we could also see them off. We were treated like humans at airports and not cattle.

We lose a little of our society’s soul as these little humanities are taken from us.

Our nation had not yet opened its borders to the flood of Islamic immigrants without thought to giving the flow time to assimilate.

Our government was forbidden to spy on Americans.

Many young men my age were still alive(before being shipped overseas to war).

Church attendance was much higher.

The divorce rate was lower.

Pornography was less mainstream.

Marriage was still between a man and a woman.

It was acceptable to stand for patriotic music and rituals.

We were less divided.

It’s not enough to cite the changes in our society, we must remember what’s been lost and teach our children that we haven’t always lived this way. We must teach them virtues and values, loyalty and honor.

Much has changed, but the important things remain the same; Faith Hope and Love, these remain.

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