Getting Back To The Basics

:: repost from 8/22/08 ::
I’ve been told a lot of things. Pray for this. Fast for that. Attend this meeting. Give. Serve here.Take care of the nursery there. Be nice. Be strong.Spank your kids. Don’t spank your kids. Clean your house better. Be involved. Be smart. Take care of yourself. But not too much.

I could go on for quite some paragraphs if I really wanted to and put my mind to it… those were just off the top of my head. I have deadlines, I have demands. I have obligations. And so do you. The difference between you and me might be the number of years we have been at this… or it might be that one of us tries harder, certainly some of you are far more successful than I am at all of this, but I’m sitting here thinking: what is really important? What should I have spent my time doing, listening to, and giving myself to? It isn’t that I haven’t tried to do “the right thing”. I have, and I find that that is the case for most people I know: we are trying to do what is best in any given circumstance.

But this Olympics thing has stuck that thought in my mind: we all run the race, but one gets the prize. In life, it is not a singular “one”, it is the qualifying one. The one who has enough focus, wisdom, and sense to know the goal and to strive to attain it. Olympic gold is not won by scattered energies and diversions. It is won through measured effort. You can’t work too hard to gain it, or you might injure yourself, burn out, or otherwise disqualify. You have to utilize your own gifts and focus towards what they are best potentialed to accomplish.

There is this little mentioned portion of scripture in the Song of Solomon:

Song of Solomon 1:6

Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected.

and then much later in the book:

Song of Solomon 8:12

But my own vineyard is mine to give

Many of us have labored for others dreams and goals, supported others plans and met their demands while neglecting what was ours, our responsibilities, gifts, ministries, and potentials. We thought our time would come, and others would then support us, but it isn’t always that way. We have to realize, and take responsibility for our own vineyard. We have to own it. And then we may properly give it… while having something truly worthwhile and cultivated, cared for as something precious, to give away to others.

If we don’t value what we are and what we have to give…. why would we expect others to be capable of that? We must put a value on our giftings, and develop our own callings in life. So many of us, especially women, expect for others to do this for us. And then we wonder why things don’t work out.

A vineyard is an interesting thing.”Wine grapes are an agricultural product and it takes about four years before a newly planted vineyard comes into production” ~Jenny Heinzen, director of winery and vineyard sales for WineryX Real Estate in Napa Valley

To grow grapes there are numerous steps and maintenance required.

  • The spring following the second growing season, select 4 vigorous canes for the arms.
  • Each dormant season thereafter replace the arms with canes and leave new renewal spurs.
  • Prune only in late winter or early spring, since early winter or fall pruning can promote winter damage.
  • Complete weed control around grape vines is essential to ensure adequate vine growth and high yields. Frequent shallow cultivation is generally best
  • Do not harvest grapes until they are fully mature

-from an unh.edu extension pdf file

If you don’t spend a relatively large amount of time building, planting, and caring for a vineyard, your fruit will disappoint -if you have any fruit at all. And yet, many times as Christians we are given so many tasks for others that we often neglect our own responsibilities and “vineyards”. It is all so senseless since all would benefit from each person having their own vineyard in good order and sitting under their own fig tree.

Micah 4:4
Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.

How many of those tasks are as important as the promoters would have us believe? Are we saving the world with our efforts… but losing our own souls and those of our dependents ? Are we?

I am amazed at myself for following so many teachings that ultimately lead me nowhere. I always thought I was smarter than that. The basics are there in the gospel, and I think it is time we majored in them. Not laying down the fundamental teachings over and over…. that is another thing of which we have become masters, but doing the fundamental things that build a life of substance and value. Starting with our own vineyard.
“Proverbs 24:27
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”

Everything has an order, everything has a place and season. I have been a migrant worker, when my fields at home have languished. I am working on renovating them now, but the delay was unnecessary and unproductive. The basics were always apparent, but I listened to the voices, the now angry voices, that demanded from me the labor of Pharaoh’s ambitions. The Lord wanted me to be free, and to enjoy the abundance of fruitfulness.

It is not too late, but the basics must be attended to, now. Retraced, and implemented, who knows what fruits and unique flavors will be produced?

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