I was home from the day job for a week of vacation two weeks ago. As I ventured out early Wednesday I was blessed with the most perfect morning. The sun was steadily making its way up into a clear blue sky. It was cool, crisp and still. The only things to be heard were the chickens, wild birds, and the cattle in the pasture just to the north. As I walked quietly around the property, not wanting to disturb the almost sacred peace, I snapped a few pictures. Below is one I knew I would be sharing.
Like most photographs, the image captures the scene but not the moment. There were a hundred childhood memories to be explored as I looked out over the fields and fences I had worked from my earliest memories on. There was a feeling of continuity: My father had once stood on this land right where I was, as had my grandfather, and many others before him. There was a feeling of humility: Like my father and grandfather, and all those others I was now entrusted with the stewardship of this small bit of land for a season. There was a connection to God as I stood and considered the re-creation of a new day. I was blessed, I had a whole lot to be thankful for, and I knew it. In that moment, God spoke to me from dozens of passages from His Word. In that moment I was bathed in His Goodness. In that moment I chose to accept the blessing that God had prepared for me that morning.
But it could have been different. I could have chosen differently. It was a beautiful morning, but it was down-right chilly. And no matter how nice it was right then, I knew I was going to spend a good part of the day cramming my 5' 10" now-less-than-lean-and-mean frame into a bathroom vanity cabinet to change a corroded drain and faucet. The lush and pristine pasture at my feet? That's a portion of my back yard that, through a series of minor misfortunes, had never been mowed all summer. Not once. Some of those trees off to the left are in the fence line and really should be taken down. One more thing in an endless series of tasks that didn't get done last year and won't get done this year. Had I chosen, at that moment, to focus on negatives I would have missed the simple, yet amazing, moment that was placed there for me to experience.
Ecc. 5:18 (NIV) Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. 19Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
I was able to choose rightly at that moment because seeing the gift for what it was, was in itself, a gift from God. As I chose to take that moment to listen, to "Be still and know that He is God", He chose to honor that moment with a gift: "Gladness of heart".
Every one of us encounters moments like these. Perhaps not everyday, but perhaps also more often than we realize. I encourage you stop and grasp them as they come along, and to cherish the blessing He will provide as you take the time to be still and honor Him.
I am blessed... and so are you,