Magic bean plants.
All four of my kids have brought home this same preschool project: a tiny bean planted in a cup of soil. They planted, they watered and then they carried it home.
We always place the bean plants on our kitchen window sill and a few days after arriving in our home, they sprout.
What a day! We marvel and ooh and aah.
And those beans grow. They grow and grow.
When my youngest girl watched her bean grow, I teased her about her “magic beanstalk.” Every few weeks, it might produce a bean, which she picked, washed, ate, and pretended to like (raw). That plant was hardy and so tall.
I’d ask her about the giant at the top and would Jack be visiting any time soon. Maybe she got the magic beans from good-old Jack.
They are just a wonder, though. One simple bean and it shoots up like a ladder to the sky.
One simple bean. One small seed.
It’s a wonder, isn’t it, when we take the time to notice the small? When we marvel at the beauty and strength and wisdom hidden in the tiniest and most overlooked things?
How beautiful, too, when we content ourselves with small instead of pushing, fighting, striving, duking it out for something grander or louder or more visible.
I read this in Proverbs this week and it re-set my heart a bit:
Four things on earth are small,
but they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people not strong,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the rock badgers are a people not mighty,
yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard you can take in your hands,
yet it is in kings’ palaces (Proverbs 30:24-26 ESV).
What is it that we learn from the “weak” and the “insignificant?”
It’s the working in advance that sets the ants apart, how they toil in summer, setting aside the food, getting ready for a season of want by storing up during the season of plenty.
They don’t waste the bounty of now and they keep the future in mind.
Find a safe place
The rock badgers hide themselves away in cliff crevices, finding the safest places to escape from prey and withstand the weather.
They know what is needed–a refuge. No one can fight and fight all the time. No one is mighty enough to withstand every foe. But we can still find rest if we have a safe place.
Have a team
The locusts march together. They aren’t ordered to do it. No king sets them into battle formations and sends them out.
They choose cooperation because they are better together.
Even the lowliest lizard can be found in a palace and treasured by kings, but you could catch that same lizard outside and hold him in your hand.
They aren’t different lizards. They aren’t putting on a show. They aren’t dressed up in frills and diamonds. They are simple and lovely, God-designed and just doing what God designed lizards to do—no more than that.
What is it we learn from magic bean plants…and from ants, rock badgers, locusts and lizards?
To praise God in the here and now of our simple, beautiful life. To raise our heads, our hands, our voices high in worship, honoring Him simply because He made us.
We learn to find our safe place in Jesus, our Rock, our Redeemer, the Refuge we run to when people are hurtful and life is hard. We hide ourselves in Him and let Him cover us and give us rest.
To treasure peace with others. To cover tension and disagreements with grace and forgiveness. To realize that the people we make our enemies aren’t really our enemies. Disagreements don’t negate love. We still love because they are beloved and treasured by God even if they don’t know it.
And not to go it alone and strike out all independent and determined to live off our own strength. We are weak. That’s the truth. God makes us strong in Him and He gives us strength with each other.
Also this: God made us. He loves us. We can come into the presence of the King of all kings, lowly as we are, humble as we are, small, insignificant, tiny and weak as we are. It’s not because we are worthy. It’s because Jesus covered us with His worthiness. He invites us right in and welcomes us into His presence.
We. Are. Small.
And, friend, let’s be small. Let’s honor Him with all that is in within us because we are oh so very loved by our very BIG God.