There were once two men, both of them farmers. The first man had fields of beautiful fruits and vegetables of all sorts; cucumbers and beans, carrots and corn, lettuce and cabbage.
He took great pride in his ability to grow wonderful fruits and vegetables. He also seized every opportunity to tell others of his great accomplishments. The man couldn’t see how he could possibly become a better farmer, naturally, because over time he thoroughly convinced himself that he was the best farmer who had ever lived or who would ever live.
The one thing that bothered the man more than anything else was when others, especially other farmers, didn’t acknowledge how fantastic he was at growing any kind of fruits and vegetables. He felt that he should receive accolades and wealth because of how tremendous his farming abilities were. If the price of corn fell, naturally he felt that somehow he was being singled out and that the drop in price was an obvious affront to him, personally. Other farmers didn’t matter, because after all he was the best that had ever been.
The second man tried continually to become a better farmer. He’d try different things and spend hours trying to produce a better and healthier crop. When people would tell him how wonderful his fruits and vegetables were, the man would smile and thank those people, though not ever actually agreeing that there was anything special about his abilities beyond those that all farmers had.
This man planted a turnip in poor soil, in inhospitable country and would painstakingly carry water to that turnip faithfully, urging it to grow. He wasn’t rich and it was the only land he could afford to grow anything upon. When the winds would come, he’d use his own body to shelter the growing turnip. He would shade the turnip in the hottest part of the day. He carefully tended the turnip, making sure it had a chance against the weeds that wanted to choke it out.
Gradually, as the water and his efforts sunk down, the sickly turnip began to grow. At first, it was only a little, but in time, the turnip almost seemed to take on the same determination as the humble farmer. The farmer drew no attention to the turnip, but the plant didn’t care. It grew stronger and stronger, defying the odds.
One day, there was a terrible storm and the land was laid waste. The first farmer’s fields were leveled by ravaging winds and hailstones the size of his fist. The fields looked like they’d been trampled by giants.
When the people grew hungry, they went to the first farmer, begging for a portion of his crops. After all, the man had said far and wide how he was the best farmer who’d ever lived. Surely he’d have some food for them. The man had nothing to give to the people, for his lands had been swept clean.
He tried to tell them how unfair it all was, because he did everything right and there could be no faulting him. In his pride, he told them that nobody could have done any better.
The people turned to the second farmer, not saying anything but with their eyes filled with hunger. The man motioned the people to follow him and he led them to a small, insignificant, unsightly and poor patch of land in the most inhospitable place a person could have thought up for growing crops.
In that place grew a single turnip plant. It had survived the storm because it had grown in such a bad place to begin with. The careful nurturing had produced a root that not only grew very deep, it grew very large; bigger than anyone had ever seen from a turnip. Indeed, it took many of the people of the village to even dig it up and it was too large for any man to carry. It had to be loaded on a cart. The entire village was able to eat and it was the most delicious turnip any had ever tasted.
After the feast, someone asked the first farmer where the second farmer was, for he was nowhere to be seen. His answer, with a shrug of indifference, was, “He said he was going to go plant another turnip and something about having figured out a way to make it better. Why do you want him?”
“Because he is the best farmer who has ever lived,” they answered.
If we ever get to the point that we feel the need to pat ourselves on the back about something, we’ve taken the path of the first farmer. Pride blinds us to the truth; that we can all be better tomorrow than we are today and that that we are still learning. Humility is what brings us down to earth and helps us to nurture those things that we are growing.
If you are ever truly great at anything, you don’t need to tell anyone that you are, because they will already know it. A person who tells you that their fruits and vegetables are wonderful is only fooling themselves and others quickly see through them.
Always remember, no matter how good your talents, work and abilities might be, there is always room for improvement. It takes effort, but the results are always better than the words and actions of pride.
Posted in Inspiration and tagged arrogance, farmer, humility, inspire, pride, turnip by rextrulove with 8 comments.
Have you ever really thought about the Sabbath? I don’t mean about what day of the week it actually falls on or anything like that. That is something that scholars argue about to this day. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t make much difference whether a person thinks of Saturday as the Sabbath or believes that it is supposed to be on Sunday. The principle is the same, either way.
The idea is easy to grasp. One day out of seven, we are supposed to rest. Some people take that to mean that no labor at all is to be done on the sabbath, but that isn’t quite what the bible teaches. The bible isn’t that extreme. It merely says that we should rest and some people do rest and relax by doing what other people would think of as ‘work’.
For example, I find it quite relaxing to sit in my garden, pulling weeds. There are plenty of other people who would consider that to be back-breaking work. This is actually important, though it is different from one person to another and even though the idea of no labor at all on the Sabbath is old testament teaching, before Jesus gave us the new covenant.
First, it is important to understand that the Sabbath wasn’t meant for God, it was meant for man. Jesus said it plainly in Mark 2:27:
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”
Put in a different way, the Sabbath was created for us, for play. It wasn’t created for God, who does not rest. The part about ‘…keep it holy’ also makes sense. We are to rest, play, relax, but we are not to do anything that is sinful while we rest and relax.
This means that there is nothing in the bible that would prohibit me from ‘working’ in my garden on the Sabbath, since I don’t see it as work. I see it as play. It is relaxing to me.
What is even more important is the realization that God really does want to take care of us and He really does care about our welfare. He knows perfectly well that working day after day with no rest is a bad thing. People need to rest and He shows his understanding and love by making it a command that we are to rest one day out of every seven.
Wow! God really loves us and cares about us. He wants us to be healthy and happy. He wants us to make sure that we have play time!
Christians often think of the sabbath as the day of worship, and many would be shocked to learn that it has nothing to do with that. We should be worshipping God every day, not just one day a week, for a couple of hours. The sabbath is a day that is actually one that is set aside for you and me.
Mind you, in no way am I suggesting that you shouldn’t go to church on Sunday (or Saturday). Fellowship is important. Learning about God and the bible is enormously important. However, it means that we should take care of ourselves as he intended by working hard and playing just as hard.
Have you really ever given thought to the Sabbath?
What do you usually do on the Sabbath?
Posted in Deeper meanings and tagged Christian, commandment, God, meaning, play, sabbath by rextrulove with 13 comments.
This is a question many people ask; why does the church always ask for money? After all, God has no need for money. I’m sure that many Christians have wondered why they should tithe and give to the church. We must remember, though, that we live in the world, even though we are merely visitors who are just passing through. The world is driven by money and money is required to do almost anything. Even Jesus needed money in order for he and the apostles to do their ministries.
Consider this, though; do you think that you would be making money without God? He makes it possible for you to earn every dime. Moreover, if Jesus is our Lord, he owns us, right? That means that He owns everything we possess and every penny we make. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we give everything to our church. We have to survive, too. Still, amazing things happen when we have faith and listen to that inner voice that tells us that we really should give. That is God speaking and if it comes from God, it comes with certain promises and guarantees. One of those is that He will provide for us. For everything we give, He gives us many times more in return. This is a testimony to show how this happens. This is only one example.
Recently at our church, we had a guest speaker; an evangelist named Ron. Ron travels the world in his ministry and that isn’t cheap. However, he is bringing the word of God to people who have never heard it. This is what we are told to do. Now, it costs money to even come to our peaceful backwoods town and it certainly costs a lot more to do it in places a person couldn’t find on a map. On Sunday, we had two offerings. The money for the first one goes to our church and most of that is returned right back to the community via many programs we have; clothing bank, food bank, wood ministry, Agape Christian school, etc. The money brought in for the second was to help with the cost Ron incurred when he came here.
I am a poor person. I had exactly three dollars in my wallet and had intended on buying a light bulb. That might sound frivolous, but a bulb had burned out and we needed a replacement, if I could scrape up enough pennies to go along with the three bucks, as light bulbs cost something like $3.27 around here.
God takes precedence in my life, though. I also trust Him implicitly and had that voice in my mind saying that I should put money in both offerings. I gave a dollar to each offering, leaving me one dollar. Two-thirds of what I had at the beginning of service, I didn’t have at the end of service. A light bulb wasn’t as important as spreading God’s word and we have a flashlight if we need it. I wasn’t bothered by the giving at all. I wasn’t giving the money, I was returning it. Jesus owns it, after all, since He is the Lord.
It was a great service and I very much looked forward to the evening service. Amazingly, at the evening service, a lady came up to me and gave me $10 to pay in advance for some gardening I’d agreed to do. Wow! What a return on the money that I’d invested in the church. The evening service got over a little early, too, so the store was still open. I was able to get the light bulb and still had money left over.
This is only a very minor example. God knows what you need and why. When you put Him first, He provides. It doesn’t sound like much, as it was only a couple of dollars. However, my immediate need at the time was for that light bulb. By putting God first, I ended up with much more than enough to get the bulb. God is always there to provide for the major needs and the minor ones and it shows that there is no need too great or too small to merit His attention.
It is always a good idea to listen to that voice or urge that says, “You really should make an offering.” Think of it this way; how much is God’s love and grace worth to you?
Posted in Testimony and tagged church, donation, God, money, offering by rextrulove with 2 comments.