Sunday, September 21, 2014

Despising the day of small things

On Sundays I'm in the habit of trying to read or listen to something that will give me some kind of Christian teaching.  A few weeks back I was listening to the talks from the plenary sessions of the Tertiary Students' Christian Fellowship's annual leadership training camp.  The talks focussed on Israel's return from exile in Babylon, and the final one included one point that I've been mulling over ever since.

The prophet Zechariah was one of the exiles who returned from Babylon to the largely destroyed city of Jerusalem.  The city no longer included a temple: it didn't even have walls.  Some of the exiles were trying to rebuild the walls of city but others were saying that that was pointless: the walls were so pathetic that even a fox could get through them, so why bother?  In this context, God says through Zechariah:
“The hands of Zerubbabel [the governor] have laid the foundation of this house [i.e. the new temple]; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet [i.e. plumb line - an essential tool for building the new temple] in the hand of Zerubbabel.

So some people were saying that progress was so small it was pointless, but God comes in and says 'no, they're part of achieving a big thing'.

I've been really convicted by that.  In the weeks since I've heard it, I've realised I'm very much in the habit of despising small things.  I look at people achieving small (but hugely positive) things and feel depressed, rather than celebratory.  That happened the other day when I listened to this radio programme about the work of Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust.  They train dogs to help people with a range of disabilities, with the radio story mostly focussing on the experience of a young girl with autism.  The dog had clearly made a huge difference in her life, but all I could focus on was the fact that they only had something like 7 dogs in training, that a client had to contribute $20,000 towards the cost of their dog etc. etc.: all the things that meant that very few people were going to get the help that this girl had received, rather than what an awesome thing at least some people were getting...

Similarly, when I look at what I contribute to the world, I'm much more likely to see the way that my illness prevents me from doing big things than to value the small things God gives me to do.

I despise the day of small things.  I'm praying that God will change my attitude in this area!

If you're interested, you can listen to audio of all four talks here, or watch video of the first three here (they're the ones marked 'Summit').

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eye pillows

I've been doing a lot of sewing recently, but most of it has been making presents for people who read this blog so I can't put up pictures.  However, yesterday I finished these:


An eye pillow for my namesake Heather's 19th birthday and another for Christmas for my cousin's wife.

I haven't done much beading before and I'm very pleased with how they turned out :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Glowing flowers


I've been loving the way these flowers on my windowsill have seemed to glow in the afternoon sun on recent days :-)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Submission to Baptist Union Working Party

Yesterday I (Martin) scrambled to put together a submission for the Baptist Union, and thought I would put it up here for a few church friends to see.

The Union appointed a working party to discuss their position on same-sex marriage and the constitutional questions arising from their initial attempts to set a position.  Their website was little help in finding more info about submissions, but Google directed me to GayNZ who had a helpful article.

Heather reminded me on Saturday that Sunday was the deadline, for which she paid the price of being kept up late as I tapped it out.  Even as I went to sleep I was thinking of things I might have said better, but such is life.

Here is my submission: