In chapter 21 of Meeting God in Quiet Places: the Cotswold Parables by F. LaGard Smith, we're exposed to the world of the Cotswolds, where sheep droppings and other manures are sold because of their valuable properties. There is no lack of manure in the Cotswolds from sheep, cows, pigs and horses, and there are even "connoisseurs of animal manure." So, the discriminating manure buyer has several options before him--choices which are perfect for his specific purpose. And these manure options are the reason for the ever-present "Wellie" boots, which all Englishmen living in the country wear for protection. It turns out that manure is many things to many people: veterinarians use it as specimens, farmers and gardeners for fertilizer, and for those who don't appreciate its value--it's a four-letter vulgarity.
So how do you think of manure? Or maybe you don't think of manure. But for the purposes of this lesson, LaGard asks you to think of manure--not as contemptuous or loathsome, but as something as natural as anything can be. LaGard says: "It is of nature. It is part of the natural order, with heavy emphasis on order. When the sheep leave their droppings, the droppings fertilize the ground, which gives life to the grass, which the sheep eat, which in turn gives them life-sustaining nourishment--and then the cycle begins all over again. It's a mini eco-system!"
It's NOT what many people refer to as waste--either human or animal--but a valuable contributor to the cycle of nature! Manure is often described as waste, as if it had no place or function or purpose. But that is the exact opposite of the truth. What we see as ugly is transformed. And when it decomposes, it renews life!
And if someone said, "I feel like sheep droppings today," you would know exactly what they mean. But here's the kicker from LaGard: "If sheep droppings can serve a noble purpose, what reason could I ever have to think that God won't use my life for something worthwhile?" Are you beginning to get the idea?
Okay...here we go! The bottom line for all of us is that we wonder about our destiny: "Do we really have anything special to contribute, or are we just rather ordinary? Ironically, how we answer that question may just answer that question! How we feel about our own usefulness to God can be a self-fulfilling prophecy." Hmmm...sounds serious, doesn't it? It is!!!
Do you remember the parable of the talents? The master went on a journey, leaving his property in the hands of his servants. He gave his servants money--to one 5 talents, to another 2 talents, and to still another 1 talent. While he was gone, the servant with 5 talents invested them and earned 5 more in interest. The servant with 2 talents also doubled his money. But the servant with only 1 talent was afraid, and hid his talent in a hole. And his master gave him a sharp reprimand upon his return. Which will you receive from Jesus upon his return--a "well-done" or a reprimand?
Tomorrow there will be more thoughts on being useful. For now, think about the way God is using you. And have a wonderful weekend with the family!