Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. – James 4:10 KJV
The rains came down and the winds came up, and the corn on the ground went plop.
I was feeling pretty good about my stand of sweet corn – Peaches and Cream to be exact. It got a late start this year because of all the rain, but it finally had started to come along. The stalks were taller than I. Admittedly, that doesn’t have to be very tall, but the corn was doing OK
I went to bed. That night a thunder storm hit, accompanied by high winds and a lot of rain. At the breakfast table the next morning, I looked out the kitchen window and asked in bewilderment, “Where’s the corn?” All I could see were my half-runner green beans. I went looking and saw the corn, laying on the ground, leveled by the winds.
I wasn’t overly concerned, however, since I had experienced this kind of thing before. A few sunny days, I reasoned, and it again would be standing tall and proud. But, as you can see in the photo above, not everything worked out as I planned.
Some of the corn did rise again, drawn by the sun. Much of it, however, just laid there. Apparently because of its late start, the roots had not yet grown deep enough for firmness. I am going to lose much of it, I am afraid
Several spiritual lessons have come to mind through this. While it’s true that the Son, Jesus Christ, is available to all, not everyone will respond to him. Those who do will be raised up and taken into the harvest by Him. Those who do not will be lost, and eventually cast out.
Working the garden this year has given me a new sense of the importance of harvest. When I think of the green beans, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, corn or any of the produce that doesn’t serve out its purpose, I think: What a shame . . . to live and not fulfill the purpose for which you were created.
Oh, I know, they’re just plants. Blight, disease, bugs, weather conditions and other things destroy some of it. Still, it’s a shame. Then I think about people and their souls, I mourn those who are lost. How very, very tragic. Surely, God must grieve.
Another thought was that I need to grow deep into the Word of God to stand firm. Storms come. Sometimes you're knocked down. But, hang on. God is the master over the storms, and He will be there whatever happens.
Friends, let’s get busy. Let’s work the Lord’s harvest. We may not be able to win for the Lord the full potential of all his children, but we can salvage something. Surely, we can, if we will work at it. Surely, we can, if we humble ourselves and trust Him to lift us up. Surely, we can, if we look to the Son and trust Him to raise up those beaten down. dcmgp81211
|The godless seem so strong, like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. Its roots grow down through a pile of rocks to hold it firm. But when it is uprooted, it isn't even missed! That is the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it.|
--Job 8:16-19 (NLT)
The Weeds of Sin
By Don Meadows
I’ve been proud of my half-runner bean crop this year. We canned 28 quarts of them, with only one jar not sealing. We’ll eat it, and enjoy the others this winter.
But, what I grew mostly this year were weeds. I mean, if there were a market for weeds, I would go into fulltime farming. In the corn, in the potatoes, in the tomatoes, in the peppers and even some in the beans. I pull them, hoe them, weed-whack them and even talked to them. No matter what I do, they thrive.
I was reading Job this morning, listening to Bildad the Shuhite giving advice to the stricken man. “The godless seem so strong, like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. Its roots grow down through a pile of rocks to hold it firm. But when it is uprooted, it isn't even missed! That is the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it.”
Sounds like weeds to me. Or sin. They lurk, constantly growing, trying to assert themselves, attempting to take over what rightfully belongs to something else. Likewise, they must be dealt with constantly – or at least that’s true in my case.
Jesus died to set us free from the ravages of sin. His death, however, did not destroy sinfulness. His death gave us power over sin.
Weeds abound. All I can do is fight them – constantly guard against them. This gives me courage, however, the hoe, the string trimmer, the tiller and the hard yank is more powerful than the individual weed. The Bible, prayer, Christian fellowship, worship and a daily devotional life are strong enough to win out over individual sins. The blood of Jesus will deal them their final blow.
Friend, don’t let the constant struggle against weeds stop you from enjoying your garden. The harvest will come; the beans, tomatoes, corn and other veggies are soooooo good. Christian, don’t let the constant struggle against sin stop you from enjoying your salvation. The harvest will come, and you and I will be able to sit down with Jesus and feast together and sing:
“It will be worth it all . . .” gpdcm8231
|The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.|
-- Psalm 77:18 (KJV)
God Speaks -- With a Thunderous Voice!
|It was early, one cup of coffee already put
away, TV news telling me that though things were
bad, at least we’d survived another night. My
thoughts turned to beans – my green beans.
It has been three days since the last picking. While the fall is coming, and fewer and fewer blooms are visible, there are still beans on the vines. Despite the dark skies – or maybe because of it – I put on my gardening clothes, shoes, hat, squirted anti-bug stuff on my neck, ears, arms and hands. I was ready.
I was pickin' again ... about half a bucket of beans claimed. Then, rain came. That was OK. Even though I am very sweet – hmmmm – I knew there was little chance the rain would cause me any physical harm
So, I kept pickin' as distant thunder rolled ... wonderful experience.
It was wonderful in two main ways:
First, there was realization of the growth of plants and God giving us food. Folks, it's marvelous seeing that.
Then I realized the second real moment of God touching me. High in the distant ski were the dark clouds and the low, growling, belching sound of rolling thunder. It meant God was still creating – creating atmospheric gasses to keep our world in balance. He was cleaning His world.
Oh, I was having such fun. Then God spoke again -- more forcefully. There was a bright flash of light, followed almost immediately by the sound of ripping thunder. It lasted I guess about two seconds -- a long time.
I believe God said, thunderously: "Get out of My garden, Don! I'm working here now."
I obeyed! Quickly! Into the house to watch, wonder, wait and witness to God's goodness and His mighty power.
Well, it's still raining a bit. No lightning. No thunder. TV satellite back on. I believe God has finished doing what He wanted to do; so, I'll get back out there now, still rejoicing in this moment with my Creator, and pick those wonderful beans.
It's been a real treat, a special moment! Thank You, Lord!
--Don Meadows gpdcm25aug11
Invest in Life -- Plant a Variety
By Don Meadows
I don’t know how Solomon had time to garden, what with all his wives and his duties of king. But, he must have, for I found this gem one day reading Ecclesiastes.
“Be sure to stay busy and plant a variety of crops, for you never know which will grow – perhaps they all will.”
It was especially applicable this year. Tomatoes hardly did anything. My corn got blown over by the wind, and only a few stalks were able to rise again. Beans, zucchini and green peppers did great and kept me busy.
Solomon had more in mind, I am sure, than a vegetable or flower garden. I think he had life in mind, too.
An old adage says it this way: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Invest in life. Diversify.
This advice, I think, is meant to be applied spiritually. Invest in many ministries to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ. You’ll find there will be a time and season for all things. Sometimes one thing will work while others won’t. Then, it may turn around.
Next year I intend to plant more than one variety of tomatoes and corn. It may make a difference.
Likewise, I invest in several ways to serve Jesus. This website is one example. So, too, are the websites meadowslarks.com, jesuscares.com, methodistviews.com. Also, I attend church regularly, preach when given the chance, do Puzzling Parable Gospel Magic programs and support several missionaries.
And, it’s a ball. Janet and I have so much fun serving Jesus and trust God will enable a harvest in some way, all to His glory. gpdcm05sept11
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
By Don Meadows
I was robbed. And it was my own fault.
Jesus told the story of a careless man being robbed. The object lesson was to be alert and ready for the coming of the Day of the Lord. The suggestion is that he missed out on the coming of the Master.
I was robbed, too. Carelessness on my part. All I lost was sweet corn.
I’ve picked a lot of beans this year; they are about gone. Since the wind blew my corn down I have not closed my wire gate to the fence around the property. Nothing had bothered anything. But, on Labor Day I went to the garden to pick some ears of corn that were growing despite being on the ground.
When I looked, however, I saw the remains of thievery. The larger ears were ripped open and one side of the sweet and tender ears eaten. Oh, I had some corn left – tiny one and two inch ears; those of eight and ten inches, though, were all gone.
I looked around for evidence. No deer tracks; no raccoon tracks. I figure ground hogs, because I know there are a couple of families around. Well, they’ve got to eat, too, but I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into those delicious kernels of juicy corn.
“Learned a lesson, didn’t you?” Janet pointed out the obvious.
Yes, and I have only lost corn. Imagine, though, what some people lose when they let down their guard. They open the gates to temptations, thinking nothing will happen. For a long time one might get away with this carelessness. Eventually, though, there will be a price to pay.If you’ve planted a crop for Jesus, keep on the alert. Thieves are lurking, thieves who will come in and take away your joy and gain. Don’t be caught unaware; be ready for the Day of the Lord. gpdcm06sept11
NOTE: Has God spoken to you in a special way through nature? Please share. Send us an e-mail, with a picture attachment to illustrate. We'll post suitable "parables" and give you credit for it. We reserve the right to edit, to fit in available space and to be consistent with our theological convictions.