09 July 2008

Lavender Sacrifice

On my morning walks, I've been memorizing. A large project, I manage a few new verses every day, and a little review. Now I'm in chapter four, the hardest yet.

It's also the shortest yet, and I therefore expected it to be easy. But then there were the last bits:

And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created."

My mind filled with questions: How does that work? Do they ever eat, or even drink water? Does a life of endless praise and self-sacrificing service get dull, or does every moment of praise heighten the awareness and sharpen the vision of God in all His array of beauty?

My human doubts battled hard, telling me not to trust in the One to whom I owe my all. But as I sat at my desk, counting a rediculous number of coins, the door opened.

A greeting from a local plumber, a shimmery bag full of lavender buds tossed from a workman's hands into mine, a thank-you.

"I harvested my forty plants this year," he said. "I enjoy their beauty, but I enjoy other people's happiness more."

I knew he told the truth, and that it worked--that living to serve others and praise God brings the highest fulfillment, the deepest joy. I see him live that truth.

One of the happiest people I know, he spends his days looking for and expecting appointments made by God, handing out loaves of bread or books or even lavender sachets for the ladies and candy bars for the men, praying with people after he fixes their toilets, spreading the gospel with his words and smile.

Even for him, he told me, the beginning of that lavendar harvest was a struggle. But he chose to do it, and as he began giving away his fragrant bounty, he reaped a greater harvest of joy.

Another Scripture comes to mind, then, giving the best recipe for life there is: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God."

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