Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Daffodil Principle

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.  James 4:13-17

The devotional passage from James is often used to speak to the sin of presumption or living without regard to God’s presence, plan and power.  However, the last verse of the fourth chapter speaks to doing the right thing at the right time.

Every year, high in the San Bernardino mountain range of Southern California, five acres of beautiful daffodils burst into bloom.  Amazingly, this special spot, known as "The Daffodil Garden," was planted by one person, one bulb at a time, over a period of thirty-five years.  The story of "The Daffodil Principle" originally appeared nearly ten years ago in Jaroldeen Edwards' book Celebration!  Since that time, the story has gained international popularity and has been retold innumerable times.

The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns -- great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.  Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.  There were five acres of flowers.  Some 50,000 bulbs were planted one at a time beginning in 1958. This woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of indescribable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration...one bulb at a time.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of achievement. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one small step at a time and learning to love the doing of the work.  It is learning to use the accumulation of time.  When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things.  We can change the world.  
There is a song that I remember from elementary school that went something like this.

“Little by little, inch by inch
By the yard it’s hard, by the inch, what a cinch.
Never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps
Little by little, inch by inch.”

It was always just a cute little rhyme we sang during class, but looking back, what a great piece of advice.  Instead of letting yourself become consumed into thinking about how to get everything done in the entire scope of a project, just take it one step at a time.  Whenever you actually get started doing something, it tends to feel less daunting.  Plus, once you begin to see any amount of progress, you will become more motivated to push into the project further and continue to get more things accomplished.

The hardest step to make in any great work or small is the first one.  God’s great plans are ordered from the beginning to the end.  Our part is to do take the next revealed step for our life and let Him guide us to blessing and success.  After a while, when you look back you will see the fields of flowers that have sprung up along your way.

Scripture to Claim:
Then Moses said, "Dedicate yourselves today to the LORD--...--in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today." Exodus 32:29

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