Each spring, I have the very best intentions of raising a bountiful garden. But by each fall, all I have is a tangled weedy mess and barely a handful of cherry tomatoes to show for it.
Any idea why?
I recently heard two folksy illustrations comparing the Christian life to farming and gardening that shed light on my situation. The first illustration goes like this:
A new pastor went to visit a member of his congregation who was a farmer. When he saw the impressive farm, with its row after row of carefully cultivated crops, he said, “My, this is a great farm that the Lord has given you!” The farmer was a little irked and replied, “Yes, pastor, but you should have seen it when the Lord had it by himself.”
Similarly, I heard another preacher make this remark:
So many people say, “I’m just leaving it all up to God. Whatever the Lord wills for me is what will happen.” But if you’ve ever raised a garden, you know that’s not the thing to do.
Why did my garden become overgrown with weeds? You could say it was because I left it all up to God! If I wanted a fruitful garden, “that’s not the thing to do.”
Of course, these are illustrations of the Christian life—the wrong way to approach living for Christ. If giving it all up to God is not the thing to do, then what should you do? Switching imagery, here is what Jesus told His disciples:
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49).
The house represents your life. You don’t build a house that withstands the storm by passively letting go and letting God. You build it by doing the word (cf. Jas 1:22). If you don’t, then you should expect ruin.
And if you have any doubt about that, come and check out my garden.