Buddist Prayer Tree, Po Lin Monastery,
Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hồng Kông

God helps those who help themselves.

Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin

While visiting Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, I photographed this tree filled with hanging, bamboo sticks on which prayers has been written. Whatever our faith we all look to a greater being for help.

Have you heard the parable of the drowning man? It tells the story of a man who refuses several rescue attempts in the face of approaching floodwaters, each time telling the rescuers that God will save him. Finally, he drowns in the flood. After his death he asks God why he didn’t intervene. God replies that he sent rescuers on three different occasions, wondering what more did the man want? I have mixed feelings about this parable. I believe in God’s Grace, however I also believe that we are expected to do our share.

I have been looking at a shelf filled with out-dated spices in the pantry for several weeks. While out shopping this past weekend, I saw a bamboo rack sitting by itself as if it had been waiting for me. I knew it would be perfect for my spices. I spent a few minutes this afternoon throwing out old containers and organizing the shelf. Did God put that spice rack in the store for me to pick up? Possible, I suppose. Was I going to open the pantry door, one day, and find that God had organized all my spices? Probably, not going to happen.

In small things and in big, I believe God gives us what we ask for. Often it might not be in the form we hoped. Sometimes instead of ready made, it can be more of a do- it -yourself project. God provides the pieces, we put it together. Being grateful for what are given could be the important part.

2 responses to “Initiative”

  1. I love this on every level! The prayer tree is amazing and makes me want to incorporate that in one of my trees, only I cannot write in Japanese. I’ve heard people turn that parable into a joke, but what it says to me is when God sends help we need to receive it no matter in what form.

    I DO believe that spice rack was waiting for you to find it. Whenever I’m out shopping and see something sitting out of place, it helps to pause and ponder. I imagine organizing the spices has been on your heart and that’s when the right tool appears to help us accomplish it. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PS. You’re right….He’ll provide the tools, but we need to do the work.

    Liked by 1 person

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