I love the relaxing benefit of knitting or crocheting. My mom died early December, after months of being bedridden. The stress of caring for her was telling on my physical health and I reached for something that would help me find a quiet, healing inner space. My knitting needles and crochet hook were what I needed.
Today, I was enjoying a cup of coffee with my husband at our kitchen table, crocheting in my hand. My husband, watching me, commented, "Isn't there a crocheting machine? I know there is a knitting machine."
I was surprised to admit I really didn't know ! A quick internet search revealed the answer.
No, there is no crocheting machine. There is a machine with multiple needles that is able to weave threads into a pattern resembling crochet, but the authentic look of hand crochet worked with a crochet hook, is not possible to do by machine.
If the craft fails to entice artisans, it will become a dying skill.
Hand work takes patience and practiced skill over much time. But it is worth the end result and its value increases when the investment to produce it is recognized.
Not much in our world cannot be automated, to save time, money, work. I am more and more valuing the things that cannot be done 'by machine'.
I thought of things the scripture speaks of that cannot be gotten quickly or easily. Things that we must 'work' by
Patience -- We all speak admiringly of someone who has 'the patience of Job' ... but we wish there was an easy fix to possess it. James 1:3,4 reminds us that patience comes only with 'work', and 'testing' and 'time'. While its worth is eternal, it requires our diligence to work it into our character.
Wisdom -- Ahhh ... if only we had the wisdom of Solomon! An old Amish saying goes .. "Too soon old, too late smart." How true ! If only we could live our life backwards!
Proverbs 8:11 points out to us that 'wisdom is worth more than rubies!" Earthly riches easily ensnare the pursuit of man, but how many make wisdom their goal? We are not born with wisdom - knowledge and experience and time teach us wisdom if we are willing to learn. James 3:17 describes the beauty of godly wisdom -"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."
Faith/Trust -- In our cynical world, it is not easy to trust. Deception and betrayal abound. Yet, we are told in Hebrews 111:6 that without faith "it is impossible to please God". All that we do in service for God, all that we may give of our time, resources and money - none of it matters if we do not first have faith! What does it mean to have faith? It means that we so know the character of God that we trust Him -- trust His word, His promises. We trust Him so much we willingly walk in obedience to the things He asks of us, lays out for us in His word. Does trust come easily ? No... it means getting close enough to someone to know them, to observe them, know how they think and act.
That takes time and commitment and perseverance.
Relationships - God is love and He commands us to love. It is impossible to love without having relationships. God called us into a family of brothers and sisters and friends - a people that are to be known for their love for each other. Jesus said in John 15:12, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." We live in a fast paced world where technology over-rides face-to-face conversation. We are more and more isolated in a world full of people. Why? Because to build relationships means vulnerability, and self-lessness. It takes time and caring, a forgiving attitude and commitment.
The year 2016 has only hours left before it is slips into the 'past' ... and a new year will begin.
Let us resolve that in the new year we will focus our diligence on the things that cannot be easily obtained but whose worth is eternal. Let us pursue those things that are important according to how God defines worth and value. For in these things we will find the fulfillment - the value of life - that we all seek.
I wish all of you, my readers, a very blessed 2017 - may the Lord Himself be your 'Gift' that keeps on giving all year through.