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Don’t Just Plant the Garden, Know the Garden


Exodus 31:3 3 I have <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-2424A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: “helvetica neue” , “verdana” , “helvetica” , “arial” , sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-2424a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-family: “helvetica neue” , “verdana” , “helvetica” , “arial” , sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; font-style: italic; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[craftsmanship, My Dad was an extraordinary kind of guy.  I wish I would have listened more to him and taken some of his wisdom about life into my thinking.  I got more of it than I thought and I can see it as I react to things or think things out.  Basically he was super intelligent.  I regret not listening better when he was trying to explain basic things to me.  One example of me not listening was every year in the spring dad would want to plant a garden, and boy what a garden it was!!!  He had prepared the soil by spreading chicken manure over the soil during the winter.  I would see (or smell) that chicken manure and wonder, “What compels him to do this every year?”  Year after year in the spring he would have the dirt plowed up and that is where I come in.   We had a tiller that took the dirt and beat it into smaller chunks so we could get the rows ready to plant.  That tiller used to beat me to death when I was using it until dad saw me out there getting shaken into a frenzy.  He came out and said, “You are doing it wrong.  Here’s what you need to do to keep it from shaking so much.”  Of  course, my pride kicked in, but I did what he said and sure enough it quit shaking and went on as smooth as possible.  I learned how to run that tiller like it was supposed to be run.  He would pull a lawn chair up to the edge of the garden and point to a row I had tilled and said, “Now take those seeds and plant them just a few inches under the soil about 10 inches apart, to which I would start that back breaking work. Dad would continue on talking and telling me why I was doing what I was doing, but my ears just heard lalalala.  I would quickly get the planting done without considering what I was doing and then left that garden for dad to deal with.  I could have learned a great lesson about growing plants, which dad was a natural at, and learned to plant my own garden.  But I didn’t.  I thought I knew more than my dad. But I didn’t.  Jim Warren was a natural at gardening and he knew the in’s and out’s of that gardening. The end result was a beautiful garden that produced great tasting produce that we enjoyed every year.  I could have gotten the inside information about gardening, but I had better things to do.   Or so I thought.  So, now my gardening is done in the produce area of Wal-Mart.  I miss the joy of gardening my dad wanted to pass down to me because I was distracted with what I wanted to do.  I was surely stupid and uninformed.  My mistake.  My dad passed away a few years ago and now I cannot access him for the wisdom that is gardening.  It’s too late!

In the above Exodus scripture God has filled different men with wisdom and understanding to do his work to help establish some very important things for the observance of the Sabbath.  The list of accomplishments is many and include the making of artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze.  The cutting and setting of stones, woodworking skills, and all kinds of crafts.  These guys know their stuff and it is all because the Heavenly Father has given them the understanding to do these things.  What if they had rejected all of the instructions given to them by God?  God in verse 12 told Moses  to make sure that all the people of Israel participated in the Sabbath because it will be a  sign for now and for generations to come.  The preparation of the place for the observance of the Sabbath was vital for the experience and the wisdom God gave these artisans for doing the work was a big part of them doing it right.  Why was the plan and all the details important?  Because it was God’s perfect plan.  Enuf said!!

In Romans 12:1-4  Therefore <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28247A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28247B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-28247a" data-link="[a]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[a]acceptable to God, which is your <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-28247b" data-link="[b]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[b]spiritual service of worship.And do not <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28248C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>be conformed to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28248D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>this <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-28248c" data-link="[c]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[c]world, but be transformed by the <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28248E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>renewing of your mind, so that you may <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-28248d" data-link="[d]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[d]<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28248F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>prove what the will of God is, that which is good and <span class="footnote" data-fn="#fen-NASB-28248e" data-link="[e]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>[e]acceptable and perfect.

For through <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28249G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the grace given to me I say to everyone among you <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28249H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28249I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>each a measure of faith. For <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-28250J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,  We can see by this scripture that when the Heavenly Father has a plan, we need to realize it and follow it.  As Paul wrote, the plan for the believers in Christ is to live dedicated lives of service to the Lord.  We can no longer just bump around from place to place trying to make our way.  It must be a concentrated effort to do everything God commands and do it right.  Here is where we miss something though.  Paul says there must be a renewing of the mind in verse 2 in order for this to be accomplished.  We need to take on a new spiritual understanding, a new wisdom that compels us to “serve in the right way.”  No more, just doing the work.  But knowing the significance of the work with a spiritual understanding that only God can give us.  When that understanding kicks in we no longer do the work of the evangelist as a function or a duty.  We do it with an understanding of the why from our Heavenly Father.  Here is a potential problem.  We could do the work, just out of duty and miss the great truths God wants to show us about the whole thing.  Those truths help us take over the ministry as a lifestyle, but if we ignore the extra things God wants to show us, we miss the “heart” of the whole thing.  Those truths firm up our motivation for why we do what we do and in verse 3 Paul says “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought to.”  If we get into comparing our work with others in the body, we miss the point of why we do what we do.  That messes everything up.  Just like when I did the planting without getting to know the story behind the planting, we miss the reason for everything and it can cause us to do it for the wrong reasons.  In order for us to function properly in the body of Christ, the church, in the right way, we need to listen further to God’s instruction and let Him teach us the depths of understanding that only He can teach.  Why?  Because His plan is perfect in every way!!  If we will just read further in verse 4 where Paul says, “For just as we have many members, in one body, and all the members do not have the same function. so to Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”    Many times the failing in a church is that a small group of people do most or all of the work and those whom God has gifted for certain things don’t realize the overall need of them using their gifts.  Perhaps those who aren’t serving are like me when my dad tried to explain the whole gardening thing in detail and I ignored him and just did  the grunt work.  I believe those who don’t really understand what God is trying to do and how important they are to it will one day realize they have missed a great amount of blessing and at an old age don’t even know how to “plant the garden” or in church terms don’t even know how to build a church fellowship.  The cause of Christ will have been compromised or given to others who “get it” and bypass those who don’t want to listen and understand.  How tragic.  Are you willing and ready to learn about the heart  of the Great Commission from God’s Word or are you stiff necked and unaccepting of change enough to miss the call God has on your life?  Then you are sorely troubled and will continue to be unless you have a change of heart.       

Just remember the garden illustration.  Don’t just do the work.  Learn what your work is doing and it will change your attitude about everything.  Don’t just serve Christ.  Get to know Christ.  2 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that He will instruct Him?  But we have the mind of Christ!  Open your mind and let the mind of Christ take over.  Your life depends on it.

The Pilgrimage continue…

David Warren

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