Each year the squirrels in our backyard get a JUMBO SIZED dream in their little heads. It comes the moment we bring enormous pumpkins home, placing them on the front porch, awaiting the moment they will be carved and lit with a candle inside. It’s almost as if we can hear the squirrels cheer as we place the pumpkins on the porch. Never mind that they have garden remains from the whole neighborhood or more than enough trashcans to root through… those pumpkins and the consuming of those pumpkins become the squirrels’ goal for the next week or two. How in the world can a little squirrel or two manage to eat through not just one jumbo pumpkin, but three?! It seems impossible! Their little stomachs are like the size of a nickel and the pumpkins must have weighed in at a good thirteen pounds each! So how in the world did a small squirrel(s) manage to “carve” our pumpkin so completely?
One bite at a time.
Maybe he’d saunter down the tree… take a bite or two and then go about his business.
Then, later, on returning home, he’d see the pumpkin again… and guess what?
He’d take another bite or two.
Let’s not even talk about how he might invite all his friends over for dinner—On our jumbo sized pumpkins.
As I looked at these carved out pumpkins, I started to think about the determination in that little squirrel. Determination to come back and take one bite at a time until the whole pumpkin was gone.
Now I’m not about to recommend you go take a bite out of your raw pumpkin on the porch… 😆 But what about that JUMBO SIZED “dream” God placed in our hearts? When I look at it, wow, it seems sooo big. Bigger than a prize winning pumpkin to a squirrel (did you know they can grow to be over 1,000 pounds?) Looking at our enormous dream seems so grand, so exciting, so wonderful! But yikes, where to even start? Anything I do seems so small, so insignificant compared to the big, wondrous dream. That’s where the small steps of determination come in.
During his time here on earth Jesus was given a HUGE mission: The redemption of mankind. He could have done it anyway He wanted, He could have even called down angels and gotten the whole ordeal out of the way quickly, yet He entered His ministry one small bite sized moment at a time: talking with the temple priests when He was only twelve, growing within His parent’s household, the calling of the twelve disciples, performing His first miracle, facing the enemy out in the desert. His ministry started with the bite sized moments and, as we know, grew into the full ministry that God ordained for him to have here on earth before accomplishing the greatest sacrifice by dying on the cross for our sins. If Jesus, the Son of God, started out this way, isn’t that such a good lesson to us too?
These small steps can feel frustrating… like they will never add up to much. But, like those squirrels, if we can just take one small bite size at a time, before we know it, the big dream will be ours. And that’s not even counting that we as Christians have the Spirit of God working in us: He’s faithful to whisper to us what steps to take and when. He takes our small steps and multiplies them bringing us to our destiny in Him.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose”. He is the One working in and through us… helping us take one step at a time to fulfilling the destiny He has for us.Philippians 2:13
When I think about determination and faithfulness— consistency in taking small steps again and again— my parents come to mind. They followed God’s call to become pastors here in Colorado nearly 40 years ago! The dream– not only to pastor here in Colorado but to pioneer their own church– was a big one that God placed in their hearts. Talk about one JUMBO SIZED dream! Hand in hand with the leading of the Holy Spirit they learned to say yes to the bite sized moments that came every day…. First— how about gathering for a Bible study in someone’s home? “Yes, we can do that”. And they did. Next— church is growing… can we meet at a high school? “Yes, that’s going to work”. And they did that too. Then next up—we need somewhere even more permanent… can we find a building to rent? “Yes, we can”. And they did. Next— maybe we need to buy this whole building… “Yes!” Several years later—let’s tear up the mortgage check because this place is paid off. “Yes!” And they did. That’s just an example of the physical needs of the church. I see them both being faithful each day to say “YES” to the moments God brings them in spiritual matters, too! Saying “YES” when God whispers for them to ask someone if they can pray with them. Saying “YES” when the Holy Spirit nudges them to be a witness in word and deed. All those “YESes” have gotten them to where they are at today. Oh, I’m sure there were quite a few big “I am not ready for this” moments too (maybe that will be another blog post!) but showing up every day, saying “YES” to the moments that come… no matter how small they are, is part of what has led my parents to the BIG dream God had for them. In fact, those moments didn’t just “lead” them to the big dream… those moments are apart of the BIG dream.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9
And here, in the spirit of October as Pastor’s Appreciation Month, I’d like to say: I couldn’t be more proud of you, Dad & Mom, both as my parents and pastors! ❤️ I thank God that you followed His call. You have reached so many for the Kingdom. Love you!
So this week, may you be reminded of the “big dream” God has placed in you. You know what I am talking about… the dream that is right there… nestled next to your beautiful, beating heart. It’s something you feel passionate about, hold dear, and it even makes you cry. That’s the dream God gave you… His gift of a “JUMBO” plan waiting for you. It is yours for the taking. All we got to do is whisper a “Yes” and get ready to dig in for that first bite, no matter how small it is.
Speaking of a big bite, here is a recipe for my family’s favorite Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins. It’s delicious!