Friday, March 4, 2011

Morning Hours of the Gardener

It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” 
Luke 13:19

My children and I are reading a wonderful book called, "The Basket of Flowers."  This beautiful story tells about a Gardener who had a daughter who loves flowers.  He "took advantage of his daughter's love for flowers to give her many lessons of heavenly wisdom."  The Gardener expressed to his daughter "how near we are to God in every part of His creation...."  He was accustomed to devoting the first morning hours of his day in Bible reading and prayer.  In order to have this special time in his day he had to rise before dawn. 

The Gardener taught his daughter to cherish this time of the morning also.  They would walk along together in the garden to listen to the birds sing their praises to their Creator while he explained how she can trust her Heavenly Father to take care of her needs just as He feeds the birds.  One beautiful illustration after another he shared with his precious daughter.

I understand the heart of the Gardener.  There is nothing like having an uninterrupted morning with my Heavenly Father.  Even though God is approachable every hour of the day there is something delightful about the morning hours.  Jesus Himself spent those hours with his Father.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.   
Mark 1:35 NIV

But what if I find it difficult to rise early?  Rising early in the morning used to be an easy thing for me, but over the past year it's become more difficult.  Sometimes the season of life we're in makes it more challenging to rise early.  Sometimes all we need to do is adjust our schedules or make more effort to get to bed earlier so that it's not so grueling to get up when the alarm goes off.  I also have a sweet friend who keeps me accountable and who asks me several times a week how I'm doing in my morning times.  She has been a huge help to me.  She encourages me to "try again tomorrow" when I oversleep and also reminds me to make time for Bible reading and prayer some other time throughout my day.

What matters most is that I draw close to God some time each day.   Whatever it takes, it's worth the effort to make a daily quiet time with God.  Just like the Gardener I prefer the early morning hours, but sometimes that just doesn't happen.  Can you relate?  Don't get discouraged.  Not giving up and continuing to pursue a morning routine is hard to do, but worth it.  Developing the habit of  "alone time" with God takes time.  It won't happen by accident.  You have to be intentional about this.  Ask God to give you wisdom to know how to develop the habit of rising early for reading His Word and praying.  He promises to give us wisdom when we ask Him.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.   
James 1:5 NIV 

Spending time with God is the most important accomplishment we can do each day.  Let's learn from the Gardener and make it a priority.


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