Encouragement for Today - June 3, 2005


June 3

Encouragement for Today


“As Big as a Squirrel’s Ear”

  Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse:  


2 Timothy 4:1-2, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…” (NAS)





My dear daddy went home to spend eternity with our heavenly Father four years ago. Although his absence is deeply felt, his lessons, which continue to influence my life, still ring true in my mind and heart.


When he retired, he accomplished his life-long dream. He and my mother moved to a piece of property where he could raise some cattle, drive a tractor, and plant fields. My dad, everyone said, worked harder as a rancher than he ever did as a petroleum engineer.


Everyday, out on the land, with the sun as his clock, the sky as his roof, and the Lord as his co-worker, he learned to appreciate what the land could teach him.  He had spent his adult life in an office, on an oilrig, or walking the refineries. Now his workplace spread out across fields, forests, through streambeds, and onto the lake. No sea into which to drop long pipelines surrounded him. No perpetual fires that burned day and night enclosed him. No steady sound of the pumping oil threatened to rob him of his sanity.  He woke up each morning to a hovering mist over the quiet lake yards from his front door. Birds’ songs greeted him before the sun rose. Peace ruled and God’s natural world operated as designed.  Needless to say, my dad was a very content man in his retirement. Although he had traveled around the world during his first 65 years, he learned a lot about God and His creation during the last phase of his life.


Fortunately for me, Daddy and I conversed often. He had so much more to teach me, even though I was a grown woman and a parent myself.


I recall one conversation in particular. He described to me the planting season. His seminar at the local farmers’ co-op gave him the insight he needed to prepare the soil, plant and fertilize.


“So,” I asked him, “Have you followed all the instructions?”


He informed me that there were indeed seasons to plant and till and fertilize, just like wise King Solomon had stated in the book of Ecclesiastes.


“How do you know when to plant?”  I questioned.


“I thought you would never ask,” he answered, his voice eager to report another bit of Ozark folklore, “When the leaves on the trees are as big as a squirrel’s ear.”


I tried to visualize a squirrel’s ear. There were squirrels living in the trees all around my house. I watched them daily and was keenly aware of their habits. But, it suddenly dawned on me. I had never noticed a squirrel’s ear!  Exasperated I blurted out, “How big is that?”


“Pretty tiny,” my dad replied. “You can hardly see one.” 


“Oh, I get it! You plant as soon as you see the buds on the trees.” 


“Exactly,” came Daddy’s answer with a happy chuckle.  


I couldn’t help but think of the spiritual harvest mentioned in the Bible.  So often we Christians want signs and signals for planting the Word of God. We claim not to have the gift of evangelism.  We look for a profoundly religious conversation. We wait for God to strike us. We expect a huge spiritual event to precipitate a Good News discussion.  God’s Word says, “Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season…” (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV)


When is the right time to plant spiritual truth? It seems it might be the moment you notice the potential for growth or “…as soon as you see the buds.”


Jesus told his disciples that His food was “to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.” In John 4 verses 35 through 36, Jesus makes it very clear that the responsibility of those who follow Him is to understand that humanity is waiting to be picked and placed in the kingdom of God. He puts it this way: “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages. Even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.’”


Two times Jesus says, “now.” Now is the time to plant the seed of God’s love into the hearts of those we know and love. The season is now. Surely, you have noticed the little buds that are ready to bloom! 



My Prayer for Today: 

Father, Your lessons delight me! Thank You for blessing me with an earthly father who passed on his joy in You and in the earth You gave us as an inheritance.  May I be worthy to enjoy Your gifts. Show me how to teach others the lessons You have planned for us that will bring us closer into a relationship with You and Your Son, Jesus.   



Application Steps: 


Are you confident of your position in Christ? Do you have a personal relationship with Him?  In other words, is He your best friend? Have you told Him so?

If you are not sure of your relationship with Christ or who He really is, please visit the section of our website titled, “Do You Know Him?” (You can find it in the Additional Resources below.)



Reflection Points: 


What has kept me from sharing my faith with others?


Do I need to renew my relationship with Jesus by stepping into a deeper understanding of His plan for eternity?


What are my true priorities?


Am I living in obedience to God through my chosen life style?


Am I using my time in such a way that would please Him?



Power Verses:


Matthew 9:37-38, “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields.’” (NLT)


Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (NAS)


1 Corinthians 3:6, “My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow.” (NLT)


1 Corinthians 3: 8-9, “Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God's field in which we are working.” (The Message)


Colossians 4:2-3, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” (NIV)


James 1:21, “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls.” (NLT)



Additional Resources:


Do You Know Him?



Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes



Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst



Who Holds the Key to Your Heart,by Lysa TerKeurst


Originally published Friday, 03 June 2005.