See It Through

By Edgar A Guest

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Is This Our Year?

I’ve been thinking for awhile about a story from the Bible and the warning Jesus gave to the people of his day. It was on my mind again this morning, then when I saw the Word of the Day ChallengeWARNING – well, this is the perfect prompt for sharing my thought!

In Luke Chapter 12 + 13 Jesus gives various signs of “the end,” and tells the disciples they need to be ready, watching, and doing the will of their heavenly Father when the Master of the house returns. Then he tells them this parable of the fig tree:

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”

Luke 13: 6-9

The owner of the vineyard took note of this tree that wasn’t bearing fruit in its season. In fact, it hadn’t given any fruit at all for three years. So he said, in effect, “This tree is taking moisture and minerals from the soil, plus the time we’ve already spent on it, and giving us nothing in return. Chop the thing down and let’s use the space for a tree that will be more profitable.”

However, the caretaker was loathe to do something that drastic. Perhaps he felt some pity for the tree, having tended it and fussed over it from its days as a promising sapling. “Let me try what I can with aeration and fertilizer for one more year. Then if it doesn’t bear fruit, okay, we’ll cut it down.”

When I read these verses recently, it occurred to me that “this year” Jesus talked about represented the time of his ministry on earth. The few years he spent teaching and preaching to the people, calling them to repent and come back to God. This was Israel’s “year.” This was the time for the Jewish nation to bear fruit. Would they received his message? Would they repent and turn back to God –the One who had delivered them so many times before. God was giving them this one last chance to bear the fruit He wanted to see.

The Apostle John writes that Jesus came to his own, the Jewish people, and “his own received him not.” History records that the Jewish leaders and the mob they stirred up finally had him put to death because they hated his message. And God rejected them; not very many years later He allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed and the Jews carried away as captives, ultimately scattered to the four winds.

Another fig tree scene happened not long before Jesus was crucified. Mark 11:13-21 tells of how Jesus passed by a fig tree, stopped to look for fruit, and there was no fruit on it. So he said to the tree, “Let no man get any figs off this tree ever again.”
The next day, as they passed this tree again, it was in sad shape. Peter, recalling what Jesus had said the day before, pointed out the shriveling tree. “Master, there’s the fig tree you cursed. It’s withered away.”
I doubt his disciples caught the symbolism of the fig tree to the nation of Israel until after the events of the crucifixion and the day of Pentecost. Then they would have understood.

Another comparison came to my mind. I’ll write it and hope that it speaks to you. I’ve been thinking about this last year when COVID has stalked the earth and menaced people all over the globe. A lot of us have had to leave our pursuits – jobs, schooling, arts and entertainment, sports events, even going to the polls – and return to our homes. We’ve written about 2020 as “A year we’re glad to see the end of.” We’re looking forward to a time when Covid-19 has been conquered. When most everyone’s been vaccinated, this giant has been laid low, and we can go back to our normal lives.

But what if this was our “year” to respond to the voice of God. What if this Covid “season” we’re in is that “one more year” God is giving our world, the time we should stop, think about him and his word, think about “the end” when the Master returns?

Think of the great issues of our day. Environmental, financial, political, justice, personal. How they fill our minds and cause us no end of worry. But what if this really was our last year? Not that we can just stop caring, drop every concern, let everything slide. But there’s a bigger picture here we need to consider: are we concerned about, and prepared to face, the most important event in the world?

“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.”

Revelation 10:5-6

Jesus tells us to prepare, to watch and be ready. Just in case this is our Year.

Wisdom in a Nutshell

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt — better late than never, seeing the day is almost done — is the word COMPACT

My mind went to all these marvelous bits of enlightenment that have been squeezed into a few words. Proverbs and adages, if you will.

According to Merriam-Webster, an adage is a saying often in metaphorical form that typically embodies a common observation. They give the example: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

“Least said, soonest mended” is a whole sermon in a nutshell. Great advice for the fellow who’s getting vexed about something and is ready to give the one who’s annoying him a fiery lecture. It’s also good advice when you’re so sure, and ready to accuse someone of some little crime. If it turns out you were wrong, you’ll be very glad you kept quiet.

Another phrase that falls in this category is, “Speak when you’re angry and you’ll make the best speech you ever regretted.”

“A stitch in time saves nine.” Also a bit of homely wisdom compacted and passed down through the ages. Likewise, “Best make hay while the sun shines.”

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Be careful when you’re hurling accusations at other people because you might be just as guilty in some area — or even be caught doing the same thing yourself.

“Buy in haste, repent at leisure.” A lesson every purchaser has experienced at some point.

A more recent saying we hear is “Been there, done that.” It’s a very compact way of offering sympathy to someone who’s made a big mistake, fallen into some trap or sorrow, and looked foolish doing it.

And here’s one we’re hearing about frequently, both in brief and at length, during this pandemic: An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.

Deeds — A Lampman Verse

I’ve been sorting through some Dropbox files and decided to share some of these old verses with you. I feel this verse has relevance for all time. However, I’ve used a bit of poetic license and split his longer lines into the style we’re more familiar with today. A lot easier reading, methinks.

Deeds

by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman  (1861 – 1899)
 
 'Tis well with words,
 oh masters, ye have sought,
 to turn men's eyes, yearning
 to the great and true,
 yet first take heed to what
 your own hands do.

 By deeds, not words
 the souls of men are taught;
 good lives alone are fruitful;
 they are caught
 into the fountain of all life
 where-through men's souls that drink
 are broken
 or made new.
 
Like drops of heavenly elixir
 fraught
 with the clear essence
 of eternal youth;
 even one little deed
 of weak untruth
 is like a drop
 of quenchless venom cast.

 A liquid thread
 into life's feeding stream,
 woven forever
 with its crystal gleam,
 bearing the seed of death
 and woe at last.
Image: Sue Rickhuss — Pixabay