Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Ministry of Manure (Part 2)

“Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it.” (Luke 13:8).

Manure is the "black gold" of the gardening world. It contains a rich and wide range of minerals and nutrients, providing the three main chemicals all plants need -- nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In addition, manure also adds to the composition of the soil and promotes easier and healthier root growth. So, seeing its great value, why wouldn’t the Lord use it on us?

The Holy Spirit digs about our lives to expose our roots. He orchestrates those invasive things that disrupt and overturn us, and He supplies those unpredictable people who frustrate and upset us – all to make sure we are trusting in Christ alone. Paul wrote, “Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him.” (Colossians 2:7).

If you and I draw nourishment from any other person or thing, it will be uncovered and corrected. And it must be, if we truly want to be the very best we can be.

When we put our trust in man we will always be disappointed. Our hopes will fade, our effectiveness diminish, and our lives become aimless. In fact, we become so preoccupied with what others have promised and failed to deliver, that we lose our ability to see the good that comes from God despite our duplicity. We sulk and sag in silence; praise long having left our hearts and lips. Such is the estate of those who look to the arm of flesh for deliverance.

But when we trust in the Lord, He commands rich blessings upon us. Here is what He told the prophet Jeremiah, "I will bless the person who puts his trust in Me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. He is not afraid when hot weather comes, because his leaves stay green; he has no worries when there is no rain; he keeps on bearing fruit.” (see Jeremiah 17:7-8 GNB)

Are you trusting in Man or in the Lord? Is your heart set upon riches? Is your confidence in the flesh? Here comes a shovel! Are you trusting in your abilities, your looks, or your own wit and charm? Here comes a herd of cattle! My friends, if we seek stability and security in anything other than Christ, or look for safety and significance in any one apart from Him – the scoop and the poop are just around the corner.

“To what purpose” we ask, “is all this digging and dunging?” Nothing but this: that we might be strong and fruitful. Would you really want the Lord to leave you alone? Would you be content to settle for less than you could’ve been? To accomplish less than you could’ve done? Surely not!

So bring it on, Lord; dig me and dung me! Burrow deep into the unseen places of my anxious heart, and leave not a single root holding on to anything or anyone other than You. And then pack the manure deep and wide, and pile it high as the sky! Don’t let me be a flimsy perfumed man – pale and weak, bending to the whims and fancies of this fallen world. Make me like a tree planted by streams of living water, that brings forth fruit in season. Make me a prosperous man, whose leaves never wither. Amen.

Dear reader, you may as well start praying like this, ‘cause He is determined to do it anyway. Scoop, and poop, and all.

Let me conclude this tomorrow with a short story…one that you will definitely be telling your friends!


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