• John Williams


Well, we’re reaching the end of the another growing season. Last week we pulled the last of the carrots. If you’ve ever grown carrots, you have seen the funny shapes that they can come in. They’re not all as perfect as the ones we get in the grocery store.

Some stay short and stumpy, some get odd shapes as they grow around rocks. Some split off into several sections, still others bend around each other or simply don’t grow as well as they should since they’re too close to the other plants. The interesting thing is, you’re never totally sure what you’re going to get when you go to pull the carrot just by looking at the green leaves.

When I pull carrots I like to get in close and try to choose the best carrots by seeing the tops that stick out of the ground. Most of the time, this technique works pretty well. Sometimes though, I get surprised by what comes out of the ground. The leaves may have looked full and beautiful and the top of the carrot may have looked full and round, but when I pulled the carrot up, it was short and stubby.

This year, I was even surprised by a few that I pulled to thin the carrots in an area. I pulled them thinking there was very little carrot there and I’d be making room for the other carrots to finish growing, only to find that they were longer and fatter under the ground than I had imagined.

Where am I going with all of this? Is this just a lesson in harvesting carrots? Not quite. You see, as I was pulling my carrots it struck me that this is much like the way we see each other. We can only see the showy green leaves of each others’ faith and maybe some evidences of the growth beneath the surface. But only our Gardener can see the full growth under the ground.

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

I love that verse. It’s taken from the story of Samuel going out to anoint David as the next king of Israel. Saul, their first king, had been chosen by God after the people had demanded a king. Saul was described as

“an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others.” I Samuel 9:2

He may have looked impressive, but his heart was anything but. He was eventually rejected by God because of his disobedience. Now, Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to anoint the next king. As he looked over each of the sons of Jesse, he thought he saw the next king by virtue of appearance. Yet the Lord set him straight with the words above. You see this time, God chose the king based on his heart. This time, he chose the youngest and least likely candidate. God knows the heart, and He knew what He wanted to accomplish through David.

So, how do you view others? Are you judging others merely by what you see, or trusting that God knows their heart as well as he knows your own?

Then are you asking yourself, "what’s growing in my own garden?" Are you allowing God to water and nourish your inner being? Are you growing in grace and knowledge? Are you growing around those rocks of hardship in your life or are they stunting your growth? Are your leaves green and beautiful? Are there evidences of the fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5?

We serve an amazing God who wants to produce amazing things in us. All we have to do is yield to His care and drink in the nourishment of His word and allow it to transform us. Then, as we look at others, we’ll be able to give them room to grow as well and celebrate with them the evidences of God working in our hearts.

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