This is a letter I wrote about 6 years ago when I was in the midst of canning cherries. This year, it’s saskatoons, and the message is just as relevant.
For my readers who may not be familiar with this fruit, the dictionary definition of saskatoons is: “A shadbush of western North America, having thick leaves and a globular purple fruit. The name comes from the Cree misaskwatomin meaning shadbush fruit.” It is chiefly Canadian, and we even have the Canadian city of Saskatoon in the Province of Saskatchewan named after the saskatoon berry! I could relate stories about the part that humble but delicious berry has played throughout my life since childhood.
But – back to the canning. It so happens that there are many saskatoon bushes in the woods surrounding our country home. They seem to have been particularly prolific this year and, besides enjoying them fresh, we have canned, frozen, and dehydrated quarts of them.
The main time-consuming work involved with saskatoons is not only the picking, but the sorting and cleaning after they’re picked. As I started working at it, I thought, “Oooh! It will take many monotonous hours just to prepare them for canning!” Then I remembered a timely little allegory that I had applied to my previous experience with the cherries:-
“A little clock which had just been finished by the maker was put on a shelf in his wareroom between two older clocks who were busy ticking away the noisy seconds.
“‘Well,’ said one of the clocks to the newcomer, ‘So, you’ve started on this task. I am sorry for you; you’re ticking bravely now, but you’ll be tired enough before you get through thirty-three million ticks!’
“‘Thirty-three million ticks!!’ said the frightened clock. ‘Why I never could do that!’ And it stood still instantly in despair.
“‘Why, you silly things,’ said the other clock at this moment. ‘Why do you listen to such words? It’s nothing of the kind. You’ve only got to make one tick this moment. There, now, isn’t that easy? And now another and that is just as easy, and so right along.’
“‘Oh, if that’s all,’ cried the new clock, ‘that’s easily done, so – here I go.’ And it started bravely on again, making a tick a second and not counting the months and the millions. But at the year’s end, it had made thirty-three million vibrations without knowing it!
“Oh, if we would only learn to live by the moment, not the year! ‘Day by day’ is the limit of the Lord’s prayer for us. ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,’ said the Lord. And ‘as your days, so shall your strength be’ is the promise which four thousand years have not exhausted. (A.B.Simpson)”
(Matt. 6:34; Deut 33:25)
Isaiah assured us that “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it, when you go right, or when you go left.’” (Isa. 30:21)
He does not lead me year by year,
Nor even day by day,
But step by step my path unfolds;
My Lord directs my way.
Tomorrow’s plans I do not know,
I only know this minute;
But He will say, “This is the way,
By faith now walk ye in it.
And I am glad that it is so,
Today enough to bear;
And when tomorrow comes, His grace
Shall far exceed its care.
What need to worry then, or fret?
The God Who gave His Son
Holds all my moments in His hand
And gives them, one by one.
(Barbara C. Ryberg)
“Day by day, and with each passing moment, / strength I find to meet my trials here; / trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, / I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. /He Whose heart is kind beyond all measure /gives unto each day what He deems best – / lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure, / mingling toil with peace and rest.
“Ev’ry day the Lord Himself is near me / with a special mercy for each hour; / all my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me, / He Whose name is Counselor and Power. / The protection of His child and treasure / is a charge that on Himself He laid; / ’As your days, your strength shall be in measure,’ / this the pledge to me He made.
“Help me then in ev’ry tribulation / so to trust Your promises, O Lord, / /that I lose not faith’s sweet consolation / offered me within Your holy Word. / Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, / e’er to take as from a father’s hand, / one by one, the days, the moments fleeting, / till I reach the promised land.’ (19th century hymn)
By the way, with a little inspirational music in the background, and “one berry at a time,” the picking and cleaning was finished very satisfactorily, and the finished product stored for winter use.
In Agape, Eulene