"Might I," quavered Mary, "might I have a bit of earth?"
If you've never read the book The Secret Garden, then in my opinion you're missing out on a very great pleasure. It's a marvelous little novel, peopled with charming characters, beautiful scenery, an intriguing mystery, trials of the human heart, and a writing style that is not to be missed. The plot centers around an orphan girl named Mary Lennox who has been sent to live with her reclusive uncle in the English countryside. While there she discovers a "secret" garden, one that has been locked up for many years. She falls in love with the place and sets about reclaiming the weed-choked beds. When her uncle asks her if she needs anything (toys, dolls, etc.) she insists that all she wants is "a bit of earth" to grow things in.
This concept of "a bit of earth" has stuck with me over the years. I am currently enjoying a Women of Faith study guide (Understanding Purpose by Carolyn Custis James) in which the author brings up the idea in the context of God giving each of us a bit of earth, "a territory entrusted to us where He calls us to represent Him and to advance His kingdom."
Where is your bit of earth, your sphere of influence? Perhaps it's your home as a housewife, your workplace as a breadwinner, your school as a student, or your family as a child. It's so easy to feel that we are unwanted, or that we're working for something that really has very little significance, or that no one notices us (if you feel this, watch this awesome video). We sometimes feel that we aren't making a difference in this very big world.
But God doesn't necessarily call us to change the world--at least not the whole world and certainly not all at one time! Instead, He calls us to change our bit of earth. If you leave this life having grown a wonderful family, served the community, blessed your friends, created something helpful and amazing, or shared the love and word of God in your little area of life, you have cultivated your bit of earth.
I struggle with this, big time. But I'm learning! I have my own bit of earth (in Arkansas and in the blogosphere), and it's up to me to serve God and represent Him in that place. I don't have to jet-set to the Serengeti anytime soon (though the Lord may call me there someday), just bloom where I'm planted, in my little patch of God's secret garden.