Friday, 30 August 2013


I’m not the greatest gardener in the world, but I’m keen to not be the one who incurs the wrath of the neighbours by lowering street appeal. Occasionally, I have gone beyond simple neat and tidy and attempted design and theme. It’s rarely successful, requiring as it does,  hard work and keeping at it - which might explain our having moved house more than ten times in forty eight years of marriage. Just saying.
However, over the years, I have learnt a thing or two about plants. One is that you have to keep re-potting your patio plants, otherwise they just don’t thrive. Oh, they do well for a while, then they get too big for the pot, get root bound, are invaded by pests, are worn out, like the exhausted soil they’re potted in. When that happens there’s nothing else to do but move them.  I admit I have killed a few in the process, but that was probably down to leaving it too late.
It occurs to me that there are parallel situations in life. There are people who stay too long in a job which doesn’t make best use of their true abilities or where their abilities are belittled. All too often they stay in the job because of paralysing fear, pleading age, family responsibilities, or past disappointments. Better to take a risk than to die slowly.
Then there’s the couple whose marriage is stale but either one or both won’t make the effort to seek counsel. The answer is not separation or divorce, but a willingness to change. I accept it may take only one partner to make an unsatisfactory marriage, but to improve it certainly needs both partners. Prompt action, nourishment, and ‘pest eradication’ are vital elements in that process.
Finally, as a follower of Jesus Christ for over forty years, I have observed some people slowly withering in their local church. Having exhausted what nourishment that ‘pot’ had to offer, it was time to move to a bigger or differently shaped one. They choose to stay put because of false perceptions of loyalty. It’s not that their church was a bad one, it is simply that it no longer provided what was necessary for them to thrive. A cot is the right place for a baby, but will prevent a toddler taking steps toward being a responsible teen. The children of Israel would have camped over-long in many places, but God required they follow His cloud by day and His pillar of fire at night. It was the only way they would receive spiritual food and grow strong enough to take the land of promise.

The call to growth will always require risk. I quote Bill Johnson: “God loves risk takers. It shows they are willing to trust Him.” 

Monday, 5 August 2013


Ted Bear had a problem. He felt ordinary. He wasn’t cute like Little Ted on Playschool. He wasn’t a big Thorpedo sort of Ted. He was just a middling sort of Ted.
He only did middling, everyday sorts of things. Every morning he climbed out of his middling-sized bed, put on middling-sized trousers and jacket, ate a middling breakfast and cleaned his teeth with a small toothbrush.
At school he always sat in the middle row. Not at the back with the clever kids. Not at the front where the teacher kept an eye on the naughty ones. Even in footy games he didn’t kick goals, only behinds.
“I wonder if I’ll ever do anything special,” he said with a big sigh.
When the siren rang for lunch he opened his blue lunch box. It wasn’t as big as Troy’s and not as colourful as Tina’s. Inside there was a fruit bar and cheese. Now, he liked cheese and fruit bars, but sometimes he wished for something different…or more. He wasn’t sure what he wanted.
“Could you put something else in my lunch box?” he asked his mum.
His mum thought very hard.
On Monday, there were bear-shaped carrot slices and on Tuesday, vegemite pikelets. On Wednesday, Ted found peanut butter and sultana balls. On Thursday, he had fritz chunks on sticks.
Ted sighed. Everything was very tasty, but still he wanted something different…something more.
On Friday there were tiny sandwich triangles. Ted unwrapped one. He popped it into his mouth. His eyes got round and big and then they squeezed very tight.
“Mmmmmm!” he said, licking his lips. “This is exactly what I want!”
He ate all the tiny triangles. He even smoothed out the wrap and tipped his lunch box upside down just in case he’d missed one. What made them so wonderful?
He ran all the way home to ask.
His mum showed him a big pot with a yellow label.
“Honey!” said Ted. “I didn’t know bears liked honey!”
“Bears were born to eat honey,” said his mum, who knew a lot. (*)
And that was how Ted discovered he had a BIG talent for eating honey.

He had honey on porridge and honey with carrots and honey on hazel nuts. He loved honey crackles and honeyed sausages, and even honey lemonade. He ate honey at breakfast and honey at lunch and honey for dinner. He ate it when he was glad and when he was worried and when it was rainy and when it wasn’t. And the more honey he ate, the more special he felt.
Ted became famous. People came from everywhere to ask him about honey. They came from Willunga and Wirrabara, from Darwin and Davenport. Some even came from the other side of the world! They came on bicycles and rollerblades, in cars, buses and  aeroplanes. Sometimes they walked.
The more honey he ate, the more he changed. Ted the Middling became Ted the Mighty. He conducted honey tours and wrote honey recipe books. He sang songs with his band called, ‘Honey For Jam’. He even had his own television show. With honey in his tummy nothing was impossible to Ted.
Now, when he climbs into bed and has his last spoonful of honey for the day, he licks his lips and smiles his biggest smile and reminds himself, “I was born to eat honey!”

(            (*)     Ted’s mum knew about Psalm 119:103 and Psalm 81:16 and a lot more where they came from!