Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
I remember as a child, the dreaded “family garden”. This was an annual event (fuss) in which my dad would declare that “mom wants a garden” and in order for that to take place, us kids (five of us) would have to turn the designated ground with a good ole # 2, and prepare the soil for planting. This Never happened by the way. We all turned a half dozen shovels full, while arguing and fighting amongst each other, till dad would have to come out, give us a tune up (some of you remember the tune up; a lost art today), and finally turn the ground himself. Then the ceremony of the vegetable choice, where each one of us was assigned several specific species of edibles to plant, water and tend.
The thing that struck me w/o regard to what vegetables I got, was the condition of the seeds. I was always sure mine were defective or several centuries old. They were either too tiny, or wrinkled, or just lifeless looking. How could something come forth out of these insignificant, dehydrated little puffs of nothingness, and be any benefit at all, let alone feed our family? Let’s turn The Spiritual Switch. In John 12: 20-36, we read the familiar account of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. This was only about a week before He was to be killed, and He knew it. If a man had written this, several things would have been different. For one thing, in vs 23 it might have read: “the hour is come that the Son of man should be crucified”. But instead, Jesus said: “the hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.” What? Being falsely accused, beaten, mocked, whipped, stripped, hung on a cross, and stabbed doesn’t sound very glorious to me. But as if He understood my confusion two thousand years ago, He answers my question in the very next verse when He says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn / (kernel) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” This is the “strength through weakness” principal, and is a common thread throughout Scripture. John the Baptist said: “I must decrease that He may increase”. If you exalt yourself, God will humble you, but if you humble yourself, God will exalt you. See Phil 2:5-10. In and of itself, the seed is useless and weak. But when it is planted (dead to self), it fulfills it’s purpose - bears fruit. Nugget: If a seed could talk, it might say something like: “I don’t wanna”. God’s children are weak. But don’t loose heart, as this is actually a desired trait. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” 1st Cor. 1:27. But these weak people have life in them that is found nowhere else - yet it can’t be manifest in us until we allow Him to “plant us” – to “die to self” as Romans 6 puts it.
Editor’s Note: last week’s column should have followed this one.