“There Is Something Else I Need To Receive”
The preacher drove to the church building every Sunday morning, driving past a neighbor’s house and observing his neighbor carefully working his thriving lawn. The neighbor was scrupulous about every inch of turf. He was awarded the “best lawn” prize year after year.
The preacher had conversations with his neighbor, but only discovered stubborn resistance to any invitations to attend services or study the Bible. The neighbor’s Sunday mornings remained as his time caring for his beautiful green grass.
One Sunday the preacher decided to leave early and stop by to visit the neighbor. The preacher started by complimenting the marvelously manicured lawn. Then he asked, “who gave you this lawn?” The neighbor said: “Did you say who gave me this lawn?”
“Nobody gave me this lawn! I’ve worked at the factory for over twenty years. I finally saved up enough money. I got in my truck one day and went down to the hardware store. I consulted with the clerk, bought enough seed, came back to the house, called for a load of topsoil, did the work, sowed the seed, did the watering, pulled the weeds and I take care of this all by myself. Nobody gave me this. I did this.”
The preacher said, “where did the hardware store get the seed you bought?” The neighbor said, “I don’t know. I guess from a wholesale outfit.” The inquiry went further (as the neighbor now expected): “Where did the wholesale outfit get the seed they sold to the hardware store?” With a little agitation the neighbor said, “I don’t know. I guess from a grower.”
There was no need to take this any further. The neighbor had to confess the obvious. The preacher, just before leaving for service, said: “Everything you have, God gave you. You just received it. This beautiful lawn came from God. All the efforts and work you have boasted about, simply amounted to your reception of what God made and gave you access to. This lawn is not really your own doing.”
The preacher left the thoughtful neighbor, went on to the building. That afternoon, the preacher answered a knock at his door. The neighbor was in tears and said, “I think there is something else God has given that I need to receive.” After a brief study, he became a Christian.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Eph. 2:9).
By Warren E. Berkley
The Final Page
From Expository Files 23.4; April 2016