26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)
“A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.” 1
Sometimes, in isolation, we may feel more intensely the anxiety and fear of reaching out beyond what we regard as our safe zone of comfort. In that frame of mind, we may choose not to confront these feelings and turn back from the opportunities that God puts before us to explore possibilities that challenge us, make a difference to others, and/or create growth within us.
Creatures in nature just seem to trust what God has given them and reach out without anxiety or fear. The spider “launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself.” The filaments were there from God to launch and extend beyond to a place that may not be seen or sure, but the spider was “ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.” What does this creature know that we do not know? Or do we know, deep inside, but have that knowledge encased in fear and uncertainty—so we unreel nothing?
How can we “explore the vacant vast surrounding” God provides for us? “In my small town?” we might ask questionably. “What opportunities? Where would I launch forth—here?” These are questions that keep us grounded on the “little promontory.” Standing isolated. Feeling safe.
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:24-28)
Safe can be dangerous, not comforting. Safe can mean judgment that we will fear.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)
The Lord’s will is for us to reach out, to extend ourselves so we touch those around us and even those whom we think are beyond us. With the Lord, nothing is impossible. It is we who limit ourselves.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Let us launch forth with the talents, abilities, and gifts God has blessed us with and reach out where He wants us to go to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
1 Whitman, Walt. “A Noiseless Patient Spider” 1st Stanza.
(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/17/19) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word