Tuesday, August 13, 2013


The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
~ John Newton, Amazing Grace

This time when I sing the song, I don’t think of “portion” as in food.  Instead I dwell for a moment on the idea of “portion” as in land. 

I know where I stand, and where I can make a stand.  I have found my place worth defending, and my hill worth dying upon.  This is my firm foundation. My bulwark never failing where I dig in and find refuge. 

My thoughts jump to fields and farmers. 
This portion is a partnership.

"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." - Emile Zola

Like land, I need to work on it (Philippians 2:12):  Hoeing, planting, watering, and weeding.  Breaking ground, removing stones, irrigating if there isn’t enough rain, keeping away crows and other rascals – carefully and faithfully tending and protecting.  Because this is my portion.  And if I take care of it, it will yield back a harvest…my portion.

My thoughts jump from fields to paddies.

I remember Malcolm Gladwell’s explanation of the seemingly simple, yet extremely complex rice paddy.  It’s a demanding form of agriculture that is only successful through constant labor.  Everyone has the same allotment.  It’s up to each farmer to work from dawn till dusk, all year long, to get as much as he can from his little bit.

"No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich." ~ Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers

That's dedication!

My thoughts jump one more time from rice paddies to English manors, where lands are called estates and they are both an inheritance and a responsibility.

“I’ve given my life to Downton. I was born here and I hope to die here. I claim no career beyond the nurture of this house and the estate. It is my third parent and my fourth child. Do I care about it? Yes I do care.” ~ Lord Grantham, Downton Abbey

And I don't doubt him one bit.

May I always have the conviction of Lord Grantham and the work ethic of a paddy farmer.  To tend my portion, and in turn find my portion there.

As long as life endures.

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