Today's Scripture: Proverbs 6:6-8 (read)
Waiting — what comes to your mind when you think about someone who is waiting? I usually envision a friend hoping for marriage, a couple planning for a child, a student working toward graduation, an employee anticipating a promotion, or a fellow Christian needing an answered prayer. We often wait for the good things in life, and sometimes we wait in anticipation of an inevitable outcome.
But there is another kind of waiting. Sometimes we have to delay what we want in order to plan for what we need.
My husband and I have a very large vegetable garden, almost four acres. We grow a few dozen types of produce for ourselves and for the families with a membership in our community garden. Our goal is not just to provide fresh vegetables for today but an abundance of produce that can be preserved, canned or frozen for tomorrow.
As a result, we spend many months preparing soil, planting seeds, pulling weeds and controlling pests. Once we start harvesting, we devote several weekends to old family recipes, dozens of sterilized jars and a hot, bubbling canner.
As I prepare for a marathon day of planting, weeding, harvesting or canning, it is difficult not to think about other activities that would be much more enjoyable. Reading a good book, shopping with a friend or taking a walk through the woods sounds infinitely more delightful than a day of work. But at the end of the season, when I see our jars full of jellies, relishes, pickles, and vegetables, I realize we have indeed accomplished much.
Yes, sometimes we should consider the ant in Proverbs 6 and be inspired. And in doing so, spend today planning for the future and waiting for the fun.
Allison Langford serves as Dutile Honors Program director and assistant provost at Southwest Baptist University.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.