Woodshed Wisdom
By Freeman Martin

Have you had one of those AH-HAH moments lately? You know, where something just clicks in the ol’ noggin, the light bulb comes on, and you just want to shout “YES, I GET IT” as you pump the air with your clenched fist?

I had one of those the other day as I was watering some pansies for a friend who was out of town. My first thought was the awesome beauty of this hearty little flower. They never grow very high, always down on the ground within easy rich of kids and dogs. I’ve even seen pansies bloomin’ while snow was fallin’ all around them.

And I never cease to be awestruck by the richness of their color. These yellows and purples that I was waterin’ looked like blazin’ suns and royal linens. You can almost see them blushing when they realize you’ve discovered their breath-takin’ beauty!

And when I moved out of their presence to keep from staring at them, this ol’ country boy’s mind wandered back to the ‘flowers’ of my youth. Nothing quite so colorful ever grew on the farm back home at Route 4, Seneca, SC. Just bitter weeds and wild onions!

Although the bitter weeds were yellow and the wild onions were green, it was their taste and not their color that creeps into the recesses of my memory, even now, over half-a-century later. Allow me to splainify myself.

Bitter weeds and wild onions grew only in the pasture. We didn’t know what a lawn was. Didn’t even own a lawnmower. Didn’t need one when you swept the front yard with a brush broom. And, of course, Ol’ Bessie, the family milk-giver, munched on bitter weeds and wild onions in the pasture. Therein lies the rub.

Get this picture. After a hard day’s work, you’ve washed your hands on the back porch, pretending to dry them on your britches as you run to the kitchen table where Mother has just taken a big pone of hot cornbread out of the oven! If someone ever put the aroma of hot-buttered cornbread in one of those air fresh’ners that you hang on the rear view mirror in your car, I’d stand in line to buy a case of ‘em!

But, wait a minute – back to the kitchen table. You crumble up a big chunk of that droolin’ delight in your bowl and proceed to drown it with a jug of Ol’ Bessie’s finest un-pasteurized, un-homogenized sweet milk. But hold the phone – stop the presses. The first bite makes you set a new land speed record in getting outside to the back porch for a stomach-pumpin’ upheaval. You know immediately that Ol’ Bessie has snacked on bitter weeds and wild onions. Country boys don’t soon forget such traumatic experiences.

So what’s the connection between the blinding beauty of the pansies and the foul-tasting stench of bitter weeds and wild onions? Glad you asked. It’s one word – worry. Yes, I said worry.

In the red-letter words of the Lord in Matthew 6, Jesus has a little heart-to-heart with us about worry. See, He knows how we humans are prone to worry. And food and clothes are two of the biggies. For instance, have you ever found yourself thinking, ‘what’s for dinner?’ Or, staring into the closet, you ask yourself, ‘what in the world am I going to wear today?’ Jesus also knows how Satan thinks. He knows the ol‘ devil likes to get us worried, anxious, frustrated, and up-tight about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans.

In verses 25-27, Jesus said, “Take a look at the birds of the air.” Ever wonder why He brought up the subject of birds? Could it be that birds don’t worry about jobs, or unemployment, or high gas prices, or non-existent savings accounts, or delayed retirement years? And yet, Jesus said, our Heavenly Father feeds them. What I need to remember, in times as troubling as we live in today, is that Jesus died for ME, not the birds.

And in verses 28-29, He talks about the un-paralleled beauty of flowers like lilies of the field. And pansies, too. I like verse 29. If I have something on my mind that Satan is trying to get me to worry about, all I have to do is look at a pot full of pansies, and think about these words of the Savior. “Not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

If He sends someone to fertilize and water the flowers, shouldn’t I have enough gumption (a Route 4 word for faith) to realize that He knows what I need? And will supply my every need according to His never-ending supply of riches. Without me worrying myself sick over it.

There used to be an old song about worry that I haven’t heard in awhile. It had a line that went something like this, “it takes a worried man to sing a worried song.” Got something on your heart and mind that the devil wants you to worry about today? Go get yourself a pot full of pansies and set ‘em on your front porch.

And while you’re at the store, get you a good pair of sun glasses. Like Mother used to say, “Boys, you could go blind staring at the sun.”

Ed. Note: Please join Helen & I today in praising God for His faithfulness. After almost two years of asking Him to lead us to a Christian publisher, we are happy to announce that we’ve signed an author’s contract with Tate Publishing Company of Oklahoma. It was only through God’s grace, mercy, and love that He brought us to a publisher with such a rich Christian heritage. And we give Him all the credit, praise, and glory. Oh, yeah, by the way, look for “Woodshed Wisdom, Vol. 1,” on the shelves of your favorite bookstore around Christmas. What an awesome time to give a gift of love from the ‘shed’ as we’ll be celebrating the greatest gift the world has ever known – the birth of our Savior. Please continue to remember us in your prayers as we seek to follow His will. And thank you from the bottom of our heart for your awesome support of Woodshed Wisdom!