(Small) Treasures

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“Wow! Look at that!”

“Hey, let me see too!”

When my brothers and I were growing up, my parents always encouraged us to look, to explore, to see, and to learn about nature and things around us. I remember the fun times we had looking at things through a magnifying glass or my older brother’s microscope. Camping trips in our pop-up tent camper were memorable family times full of new sights and sounds.

That curiosity and appreciation for God’s creation continues with me today. I love the warm-weather months when I can be outside more …despite the allergies! Flowers, birds and other wildlife, vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, and more, bring me great pleasure. As I mow my yard, I often mow around the tiny wild flowers (aka weeds) and see my neighbor smile as I do so. That is what inspired the poem I wrote a few years ago, Just a Weed, and also led to the naming of this blog.

When God finished creating the world, he looked around at all that he had made, and it was very good! When I think of myself as the tiniest speck in a vast universe, I am in awe like the psalmist who, when he considered the heavens, wondered why God would notice us or care about us. I am overwhelmed that he sees my small self as His precious jewel!

Thinking from that perspective and considering the world around me helps me to notice others and to value each life. Whether struggling with self-image or frustrated with what life is throwing at me, I remember that we are God’s treasure and are wonderfully made! Just as we gaze through a magnifying glass or microscope and discover amazing worlds, God gazes into our deepest being, sees our imperfections, and loves us.

*Genesis 1:41, Psalm 8, Psalm 139:13-14

Treasure

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“Do you want to see my treasure box?!” exclaimed the young child proudly. Eager hands removed the top and began to tell the stories of things they held dear. There was the dried flower, especially picked for mom, and a sparkly stone shining all colors of the rainbow in the sunshine. There’s my heart, drawn and colored with “I love you” carefully written in crayon. Here’s a family photo and a chew toy of a much-loved pet now gone…

As a child, I had my own treasure box too, filled with small cherished items that brought happy memories as well as some sadder ones of loved ones now gone. The thought comes to me that now my home is like a treasure box, full of memories and of current life.

The wise men brought their treasure chests too and offered gifts for a king, the baby Jesus. Jesus’ mother, Mary, treasured the words the shepherds shared, and she treasured what she saw and heard in her growing son.

I think of the things I treasure now and how those things we value grow and change with us. Have you ever kept something, only to pull it back out weeks or years later and think, “Why in the world did I keep this?!”

I think of how God wants us to treasure His words, His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Life is truly a journey to do just that and to share it with others! Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said that God “has shone in our hearts to give…” He went on to say that “we have this treasure in clay jars” so that others will clearly see that “this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” Always, we point to Christ Jesus, to God who is our greatest treasure.

My prayer for us is that as we pull out our own treasure box, we will consider what is in it and what is of true and lasting value. That we will see in our everydayness, or plain clay jars, the treasure we are to God and the gifts He gives us. That we will offer to the King all that we have, and so give freely and fully. I know for myself that it’s easier to do this some days than others. May we join in the adventure.

*Luke 2:16-19, 51; Matthew 2:11, 2 Corinthians 4:7

 

Welcome

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“Welcome,” I read on the door mat as I crossed it and entered my home. This small mat was more than a place to remove water or dirt from shoes before going in. When we welcome someone, we invite them to enter and we offer hospitality.

Many stores now have greeters who stand or sit near the entrance and welcome those who are coming in. What a difference a smile and a friendly hello and welcome can make on a busy day! My church also has greeters, someone who welcomes those who enter, offers assistance, and provides any needed information.

When we find ourselves in a new place or are unsure of where to go, a welcome is much appreciated! The book of Matthew in the Bible says, “… I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” There is something about feeling welcome which eases stress and encourages us.

How aware are we of welcoming others?

We can welcome others to join a discussion in process, catch up on news, share our day, tell about something that happened. This is just as important as the “hello” we may hear as we enter a business, if not more important. As we welcome others, we are saying you are important to me. You are of value. I recognize you. It is reflecting God, who cares about them.

Jesus welcomed all people to come to him, although some of the religious leaders grumbled about that and criticized him. What an example he is to me and a reminder not to be so critical of others. Sometimes we lose sight of the person on the inside, or we forget that there is always more than we can see, know, or understand. When have we been unwelcoming toward someone because they were different from us or did not live up to our standards?

I’m so glad that God welcomed imperfect me! Just as he welcomed the little children to come to him, he welcomes us all. My prayer for us is that as we are out-and-about each day, we will be more mindful of welcoming others as well.

*Matthew 25:35, Luke 15, Matthew 19:14

Eyes to See You

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“Peek-a-Boo! I see you!!” Oh, the delight of a young child to play this simple, timeless game. Eyes widen in surprise, laughter, and self-discovery. Peering around objects or through fingers, we look into each other’s eyes. Mirrors are just right for that discovery and for making silly faces. Is that me?! I recognize ME. I see YOU too.

Like a child, we look into the eyes of God. “A-hah! I see you!” we say in those moments of recognition. But sometimes we struggle to recognize God and wonder if He sees us.

Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, he walked with two men traveling on the road to Emmaus. They were prevented from recognizing Jesus as they spoke together of what had passed in Jerusalem. During the journey Jesus explained to them the true meaning of Messiah. Later, as Jesus shared a meal with them in their home, they saw him break bread and “then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” *

The men from Emmaus recognized Jesus when their eyes were opened, but the breaking of the bread came first. Jesus revealed himself to them through this small act. Like a child I peer around the “stuff” of life, looking for God’s eyes. “Peek! Where are You?” I really want to see Jesus more clearly. I walk in conversation and discovery, like those who traveled with Jesus to Emmaus, through the passing of days and years. It is in the journey and during the times that I sit with God that He is revealed.

I like the way Paul spoke of “the eyes of your heart” in his letter to the church in Ephesus. He said, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” * Although our physical eyes may be dim, our heart can reach beyond their limits. May you find joy in that discovery. God delights in His children. I see you! I recognize you. You are of special value and joy, He says.


* Luke 24:13-16a, 31; Ephesians 1:18a

Just A Weed

It_s just a weedI hear them say...

I see your face
Shining bravely
And so I stop
To get acquainted.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

Delicate flower
Standing there
Surrounded
By the tended growth.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

A splash of cheer;
Yellows and blues,
White and purple,
Lilac too.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

I laugh; I chuckle.
I smile with joy
As I make my pass
Around their home.
It’s just a weed
I hear them say.

What weeds are these?
Unwanted ones?
Not at all… but rather,
Unnoticed treasures,
Loyal companions,
Fullness of life!