As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
My mom, Barb, and I share many qualities. We both love to read and write. We are deep thinkers, life-analysers and daydreamers.
Unfortunately, that means we are also both serial pot-burners.
Both of us, on more than one occasion, have left a pot simmering on the stove before leaving the house for the day. Both of us have had the awful discovery of opening the front door and being greeted by a cloud of decimated-stew smoke and both of us have had to look up ‘how to get rid of the smell of smoke’.
So, as you can imagine, I am now an enthusiastic owner of a slow cooker, or as Americans call it, a crock pot. This is the stew-making gadget for dummies. I don’t need to worry about stirring or turning down the heat or leaving the house. I just put everything in and forget about it for hours. Perfect.
But not all of life is this simple.
In Genesis 2.15, God gives Adam responsibilities in Eden. Notice that even before sin has entered the picture there was already important work to do.
‘Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.’ Genesis 2.15
We were created to tend. Other translations say work, take care of, cultivate. God created a world where humans would have responsibility. His will is that we would know Him as our God and then partner with Him in tending to things that matter.
And by implication, we see that God has created a world that needs cultivation. Things can’t be just left. Our relationships, our walk with Jesus and our own hearts need to be carefully treasured and cared for. They need our time and attention.
Like flower beds and pots on the stove, areas of our lives that we neglect can end up overgrown or burnt.
But the problem is that when life gets crazy, tending is often the first activity to drop off the to-do list.
That is because the urgent always shouts louder than the important. Before we know it, we have neglected the areas of our lives that we know are a priority but seem to be okay. As the saying goes, it is the squeaky wheel that gets our attention and our oil.
It is so easy to take for granted our good marriages, happy children, close friendships or a strong faith.
But, if we can learn to tend the most precious areas of our lives we will save a lot of trouble in the long run. It is much easier to just give the pot a stir than to get the smell of smoke out of our curtains!
Take a moment today to think about what most matters to you and then give it a stir.
Hug one of your kids, call a friend, kiss your spouse.
Make time for the people that you love. Eat with friends. Laugh with kin.
Fill your days with thoughts of gratefulness and worship.
Believe God for big things.
Be generous with your time and your money and yourself.
Treasure what you have and live life in such a way that everyone around you is in no doubt about what most matters to you.