23 May 2012

Some Gardeners God Noticed

Speaking of passages in the Bible that our feeble minds often can’t seem to grasp the reason for, what about that first section of 1 Chronicles?  About ten solid chapters of nothing more than names you and I can’t pronounce.  So and so was the son of so and so who was the son of so and so who was the son of so and so – and so on and so forth.  Really, there’s not much else.  Just a bunch of begats.  Hardly any comments on who the people were or what they did.  Not much of any explanation on why the names are there.

Again, please don’t take this wrong.  I’m not saying it’s not important.  I’m not saying it shouldn’t be in the Bible.  I’m not saying there’s no reason for it.  I’m just saying it’s usually hard for us to understand why God included it in scripture and/or to appreciate it like we should.

There are a couple of high points in chapter 4.  The most well-known is the prayer of a man named Jabez in verse 10: “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!”  Seems that more people latch on to the enlarging my coasts part than the keep me from evil part, but at any rate, “God granted him that which he requested.”  And that’s a blessing.

There’s another little note inserted into the seemingly endless list of names a little later on in the chapter, and it caught my attention this last time through.  In 1 Chronicles 4:23 the Bible says,These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.”

As bewildering as it is sometimes to try to figure out why God put all those names in the Bible, it’s equally, or perhaps more amazing that He decided to include this note – basically, “These guys were the king’s gardeners.”  When I read that, I’m tempted to think, “Yeah…great.  But so what?  What’s the big deal about planting plants and trimming bushes?  What’s so spiritual about landscaping?” 

Obviously, something about what these guys did got God’s attention.  Enough so that He decided to write it down in His Bible and have it on record for all eternity. 

Here’s the application.  There’s a passage in the NT that’s always amazed me.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And WHATSOEVER ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”  Did you notice how big that is?  Did you see how broad that is?  How open-ended that is? 

If you’re like me, then you often think that only the “spiritual stuff” counts with God.  But according to 1 Chronicles 4 and Colossians 3, he takes note when a family of gardeners does their gardening for the glory of the God of creation.  Apparently, what you and I do doesn’t have to be “spiritual” for God to notice it.  It doesn’t have to be “spiritual” for God to reward it.  And that’s good. Because, guess what – not all of life is spiritual.

A lot of life is duty.  A lot of life’s little tasks are of the tedious variety.  A lot of life is mundane.  School work.  House work.  Job work.  Laundry.  Meals.  House maintenance.  Vehicle maintenance.  Body maintenance.  Doctor’s visits.  Grocery shopping.  Reports.  Deadlines.  Ugh. 

It’d be great to read, study, preach, pray, sing, worship, witness round the clock.  But unfortunately, that’s just not reality. 

What’s encouraging to me is the fact that if we can learn to go about our normal, everyday lives with the right focus and the right approach and the right purpose – WHATSOEVER ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord (Colossians 3:23)…WHATSOEVER ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) – then God will notice that; God will reward us for that; God will get a blessing from that. 

We need to go to church.  We should worship God when we’re there.  We ought to read our Bibles.  We need to spend more time in prayer.  We should all be involved in evangelism and missions.  But let’s be careful not to over-compartmentalize our lives into the “spiritual” side of my life and the part that God doesn’t necessarily care about. 

You have some school work to do?  Do it for the Lord.  You have a test to take?  Take it for the Lord.  You have a house to clean?  Clean it for the Lord.  You have some kids to take care of?  Do it for the Lord.  You have a job to work?  Work it for the Lord.  You have a ministry to fill?  Do it for the Lord.

Name after name after name after name in the book of 1 Chronicles.  In the middle of all that, God decided to write something down about what these people did.  Not because it was spiritual.  Not because it was terribly important.  Not because it was all that impressive.  Must have been something about how they did it.  Must have been something about why they did it. 

What’s on your to-do list today?  Whatever it is, why not do it for the Lord.  Perhaps it will get His attention.  

1 comment:

  1. Great post David! Good to see you writing again. I know it's hard. I haven't written on my blog for a few months....just too much to do. Keep it up Brother!