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Creamer column: Do your best and leave the rest

This heat wave has given the home gardener and local farmers a difficult time. Home gardeners can at least water our gardens; farmers are dependent on some rain. Weíve had some dry periods here at my house even though the grass doesnít look all dried up. Itís been tough to keep things watered sufficiently with the temperatures being so hot. This is one of the challenges of gardening.
I got up early the other day to do some much needed work in my garden. I harvested some butter beans, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. What I was really looking forward to doing was digging up my potatoes. My uncle taught me that once the plants die back you can leave the potatoes in the ground for a while and they will be all right. My plants died back a couple of weeks ago so I was excited about what I might find.
I have always gotten a good harvest of potatoes in my garden; I expected nothing less this year. I dug the first hill and only found some small potatoes. A little disappointed, I kept digging. The next hill held a rotten potato and a couple more very little ones. The next hill gave me some empty skins. That was how the rest of my harvest continued. There were signs of potatoes either rotten or skins. I am not sure if something ate my potatoes or whether they rotted in the ground. I ended up with a small Tupperware container of little potatoes. I was definitely disappointed.
I thought about my situation and decided that I am glad that I am not dependent on what I harvest. I am lucky; I can go to the store and buy some potatoes. While that is not as much fun as digging them up in my garden, at least I will not go hungry.
I was reading Josephís story from the Old Testament this morning. He was facing something far greater than a small potato harvest. His brothers had sold him into slavery. He worked hard to gain his masterís trust only to be falsely accused by his masterís wife. He was put in prison, which I assure you was not a pleasant place. He hoped to gain his release after he interpreted the cupbearerís dream. He languished for two more long years in the prison until Pharaoh had a dream that needed interpreting.
Joseph had every right to be angry, resentful, bitter, lazy, and uncooperative because of his circumstances. He hadnít done anything wrong except maybe giving a bad report about his brothers to his father. But if the reports were true, then even that wasnít wrong. Joseph resisted temptation and the easy way and trusted in his God in spite of the circumstances. In spite of the mistreatments, he forgave and trusted God.
I was impressed by the fact that Joseph gave his best in spite of very difficult circumstances. He worked for Potiphar and advanced within the ranks because he could be trusted and he worked hard. In the prison, he used his talents and skills to the best of his ability and was given responsibilities that he completed faithfully. When it came time for God to use him, he was ready because he had been using and honing his skills and abilities. His organizational skills had been exercised at Potipharís house and in the prison; he merely had to apply them on a much larger scale.
Joseph was in circumstances that were beyond his control. It wasnít fair or right, but that did not deter Joseph from giving his best. He applied his skills and abilities in the most difficult circumstances because he knew God was watching. He gave his best in whatever situation he was in and left the rest up to God. Joseph believed God would not forsake him and that God rewards those who do what is right.
I want to encourage you to stop worrying about your circumstances or about the people who have done wrong to you in your life. God has not forgotten you and He will take care of you. Your job is to give your best in every situation and circumstance that you encounter and leave the rest up to God. We also need to be aware of the people in our lives, especially those who could use our prayers or an encouraging word. God can use you wherever you are if you are available to Him. So give your best and allow God to deal with all the other details.
Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is located at www.dougcreamer.com Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email doug@dougcreamer.com

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