"Then the King will say to those on the right,
'Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit
the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation
of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me.
I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was
a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was
sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and
you visited me.' Then these righteous ones will
reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry
and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something
to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality?
Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever
see you sick orin prison, and visit you?' And the
King will tell them, 'I assure you, when you did
it to one of theleast of these my brothers and
sisters, you were doing it to me!'"
In our yard, a few feet from the door stands an apple tree.
In the early spring I watched its swelling buds from day to
day. Soon they burst forth into snowy blossoms, beautifying
the tree, and filling the air with fragrance. There was the
promise of a bountiful crop of fruit. In a few days the
petals had fallen like a belated snow. As the leaves unfolded
and grew larger, there appeared here and there a little apple
that gave a promise of maturing into full ripened fruit.
But, alas! how few apples there were compared with the
number of blossoms with which the bough had been laden!
Most of the blossoms had been blighted, and had fallen to
the ground leaving nothing behind. "Ah," thought I, "How
like these blighted blossoms are so many of the desires
and hopes and plans of our lives! How many of our aspirations
are never realized! How many of our plans fail! How scanty
the perfectly matured fruit in our lives, when compared with
the blossoms!" When we consider this, how barren our lives
often seems! How little we seem to accomplish! How little
our lives seem to amount to.
Every truly saved heart longs to serve. The redeemed heart
loves, and love finds its joy in service. How much there is
to be done all around us! and how eagerly we would take up
the task of doing it! How much we want to accomplish for the
Lord! but ah, how little we do really accomplish! How many
blossoms of desire we possess! but how little fruit of real
accomplishment! Seeing this, we sometimes become discouraged.
It does not seem worth while to try to do the few little
things that we actually can do. Do the best we can, so many
of our blossoms will be blighted---so many of our plans will
fail; so many of our hopes will not be realized; so many of
our desires will not be fulfilled. We can rejoice in those
that are brought to fruitage; we can rejoice in those that
do mature; but how about the blossoms that fall and seem to
leave nothing behind them? Do they bud in vain? The blossoms
on that apple-tree which were blighted, and died, were just
as beautiful and just as fragrant as those which bore fruit.
They served a very real purpose, and so do the hopes and
purposes that we cherish in our hearts, even though we never
see their fruitage.
David was a man who loved the Lord, and out of that love
came a desire to build the Lord a house. That desire was
never realized by David. Making it a reality was left to
others. Nevertheless, David's purpose was pleasing to the
Lord. In his prayer at the dedication of the temple, Solomon
said: "And it was in the heart of David my father to build
an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel. And the
Lord said unto David my father, "Whereas it was in thine
heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that
it was in thine heart." (Kgs 8:17-18) God did not despise the
desire, even though he did not permit David to carry it out.
As God was well-pleased with the desire of David to build
him a house, so he is well-pleased with those worthy desires
and purposes of our hearts that are never carried out. Whether
it be circumstances or surroundings that hinder us, whether
it be a lack of wisdom or of ability, whether if be the
pressure of other duties, or even if God gives the task to
someone else, there is, nevertheless, beauty and fragrance
in the desire that is in our heart to do him service.
We must not become discouraged and give up hoping and desiring
and planning to do something for the Lord, even though so many
of our plans fail and our hopes become blighted. We know that
it is the sap flowing upward through the tree that produces
the beautiful fragrant blossoms. Likewise, God knows that it
is the love in our hearts that produces the desire for service;
and that love is precious in his sight.
Do you sometimes feel that there is so little, oh so little!
that you can do for the Lord? Does your life seem to count
so little for his kingdom, and do you long to be more useful?
That very longing is as the odor of sweet incense before the
Lord. If you are prevented from doing the things that you
would gladly do, if circumstances shut you in like a hedge,
if you seem weak when you would be strong, you can still do
something. The more of these blossoms of desire you have,
even if they never reach fruition, the more your life is
beautified, and the more the Lord is pleased. These
unfulfilled desires work to ennoble our character and to
enrich us, provided we do not spend our time mourning and
lamenting because we cannot put them into action.
There is, however, one danger which we must be careful to
shun. Sometimes people have their hearts so set on doing
some great things that they miss the little things, the
little opportunities that lie close to their hands. Life
is made up of a "round of little things". The great things
only happen at rare intervals. But it is being faithful in
little things that makes us ready for our opportunities for
the great things, when they come. Christ said "He that is
faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."
The little things are not spectacular; they do not attract
much attention, but they are the things that make up life;
and if we are true in these little things, God will trust
us with some greater things by and by. It is not wrong to
yearn to do more; but that longing works evil if, in our
reaching forward to greater opportunities, we neglect what
opportunities we have. It is the fruits we are able to
produce, not their blossoms, that count at the harvest.
Let us, therefore, strive to do all that we can; and if
we cannot do all that we would, let us remember that the
blossoms that are blighted are not in vain. They serve
their purpose. They are well worthwhile; and if we go
resolutely and steadfastly on, we shall at last hear the
Master's voice say to us, "It is good that it was in thine
heart." How sweet these words will sound in our ears! How
they will soothe our feelings of disappointment at not
having done more! Let us press on, therefore, and not be
discouraged because we do not see our hopes and plans
realized in this world. Let us be strong and of good
courage, knowing that God knows all about it. Let us
thank him for such privileges as we have, and make the
best of our opportunities.
"Blighted Blossoms" is an uncopyrighted work by C.W. Naylor
and is featured, along with many others, on Jerry Boyer's
wonderful website, Heart to Heart. Please click here to visit.
"By their fruits ye shall know them."
We shall do much in the years to come,
But what have we done today?
We shall give out gold in a princely sum,
But what did we give today?
We shall lift the heart and dry the tear,
We shall plant a hope in the place of fear,
We shall speak the words of love and cheer,
But what did we speak today?
We shall be so kind in the after while,
But what have we done today?
We shall bring to each lonely life a smile,
But what have we brought today?
We shall give to truth a grander birth,
And to steadfast faith a deeper worth,
We shall feed the hungering souls of earth,
But whom have we fed today?
We shall reap such joys in the by and by,
But what have we sown today?
We shall build us mansions in the sky,
But what have we built today?
'Tis sweet in the idle dreams to bask,
But here and now, do we our task?
Yet, this is the thing our souls must ask,
"What have we done today?"
~ Nixon Waterman ~