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Archive for July, 2011

My two-year-old grandson, Grant, went with “Pops” into the garden.

Before I could say, “tomato,” he had picked a big green one. No, I didn’t scream. After all, they are right at his eye level and the invitation must have been irresistible. Even a babe gets the idea of harvesting. The only trouble is, it takes maturity to understand when something is ripe and ready.

This happens with teens and sex. It’s at eye level and it’s right in front of them. It is without real emotional and spiritual nourishment, but they are too young to figure out that it’s still green.

It can happen in just about any area of our lives. For example, my sister has helped me with my stock portfolio and mentioned to me, “You’ve never really given me an idea of when you want to sell something [harvest a ripe profit].” She was right.

Whether it’s sex or stocks, there’s a lot to learn from a garden…and Grant. Soooooo, I pretended that I was excited about his tomato and told him, “Oh, good, we’ll give it to Grandma.” He was proud of himself.

I’d rather be mature and learn to wait on God for His perfect timing in every harvest. But when I present Him with a green tomato, there’s always this powerful reminder of the Gardener who’s not afraid to get His hands soiled from our sin: “And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

It turns out that grace grows in God’s garden because Grandma always wanted to try fried green tomatoes.

 

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Ventured into gardening this season and I can easily see why God ‘planted’ man in a garden and how man meets God therein. For one, man has no control over temperatures, rain, extreme heat and mosquitos and flies. The gardener is dealing with a force larger than himself. What will become of this garden? Only God knows. See, there He is again, popping up just like the plants.

There’s also the parallel between the willful garden and the hand of he that farms. The weeds grapple for control and they will have their way unless the knighted gardener protects his defenseless plants.

Introduce all the critters, stage left AND right. I install a fence. My farmer neighbor tells me a fence is like a lock. It only keeps out the honest customers.

And there is much at stake if tomatoes aren’t staked; tragedy really.

And, yes, of course, there is the dirt. Better than Play Dough in the hands of a three-year-old. What is it about such a simple tactile act as having dirt pass between your fingers? No pun intended, I could get deep and quote old Anonymous: “You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.”  

Or deeper still, maybe even, say, six feet: we were formed from dirt and to dirt we will return.

Upon creating the earth, God’s first action is to plant a garden. And then he plants man and woman. He doesn’t tell them their future. But daily from the garden, He feeds them…and He walks with them.

Maybe, that is why I like my garden.

 


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I distinctly remember either being the captain or being one of the first selected to be on the team in pick-up basketball games either at our school or on some playground. That was because the other guys knew I was good, and just as importantly, they knew what I could do within my position. For example, I was a guard. But more than that, they knew that I was quick, a good ball handler, could drive, was a defensive player, not selfish and could lead a team.

Flash forward thirty-plus years to a pick-up game of a bunch of forty-somethings. We were at a college in course that actually required a football game. We were strangers to one another in a sense. No one except my pastor knew of my athletic skills. But standing at 5’8,” I was probably viewed as the runt of the litter and I was actually selected LAST! I couldn’t believe it. But, I didn’t say anything. I ended up quarterbacking a close game in which we lost. The next two summers, I quarterbacked us to victories! One note: my pastor ended up being captain or had some influence in the latter two games and he made sure he ‘picked’ me.

Israel’s greatest king was chosen in a similar way. Back then, prophets would anoint the next king. Samuel, the prophet of his day, was told by God to ‘pick’ a king from the sons of a man name Jesse. During the ‘draft pick,’ Jesse had his sons stand before Samuel. The first was big and his appearance fooled even the prophet (could have lost his rep on that one). He was doing the same thing that the captains did to me: judged by appearance.

God wants to ‘pick’ you for his team. He’s an incredible captain. He not only knows your skills, He DESIGNED them to fit into a team. Beyond that, He WANTS you on his team.

Each of us could come up with some excuses: not tall enough, not smart enough, not charismatic enough, not (fill in the blank). There’s a spot on the team. There’s a jersey with your name on it. There’s a captain that wants to pat you on your back.

…and there’s a trophy with your name on it. He wants you to ‘pick’ it up.

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