Monday, February 6, 2012

Home Grown or Canned?

Picture courtesy of Birdbrook Farm
     Growing up in the rich, fertile farmlands of Northwestern Ohio, I became accustomed to eating some delicious home grown food.  My mother had a garden in the back of our home and we harvested fresh red strawberries, green beans, lima beans, tomatoes, carrots, radishes and sweet corn.  We also had a few apple trees, so we had access to this fruit as well.  Down the road from us my aunt had a lush garden and wonderful red raspberry bushes that produced an abundance of this wonderful fruit.  Each summer was spent picking, eating, and freezing these items so they could be enjoyed throughout the winter months.  I can honestly say that nothing ever tasted better than home grown!
     When we compare something fresh from a garden versus something canned from a grocery store, the item from the garden wins hands down when it comes to full, rich flavor.  Certainly, planting and tending a garden requires a good deal of effort, but the results are worth it.  For the most part, my mother did all the work of tending the garden, but we were blessed with the abundance it produced.
       As I thought about this today, I wondered to myself why we as Christians do not more fully appreciate the sweet, fragrant Word of God we hear preached in our churches on Sunday.  It is a banquet to which we have been invited, and as the Word is proclaimed, our souls are fed and readied for a new week ahead.  We are able to partake of this fresh food which our pastors have labored over in prayer during the week.  Nothing is more delectable, edifying, fulfilling, or blessed than to eat from the Lord's table.  All we have to do is show up and partake.  Yet, there are those who prefer to feed on "canned" food.  They may listen to someone preach on the radio or on a podcast, but it is not the same as sitting in the company of believers and hearing afresh the Gospel preached.
      In the book of Hebrews, the writer admonishes believers to meet together:  "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:23-25).  We have to wonder why anyone would not want to come into fellowship with others to receive not only encouragement but also the feast based upon the Bible which is offered each week.  This is where we find the strength to carry on.
     Perhaps, we do not realize how much the Word changes us in our hearts and thinking when we hear it preached.  Hebrews 4:12 reads:  "For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  It is good food!  We become healthy when we eat it, and our pastors are blessed to prepare weekly in giving us this rich Word.
     Speaking from experience, my family enjoyed the time of planting, cultivating and harvesting our garden.  My mother cooked it, and we sat down to enjoy and savor the bounty that God provided.  It is no different than the church.  We are a family there, and when we come together, sit under the preaching of the Gospel, and experience worship together, our lives are changed.  May we never neglect eating at the banquet table of the Lord weekly.  Likewise, we need to pray for our pastors who labor diligently to study and present God's Word to build up believers.  They are a gift to the Body of Christ, and we need to thank them for their faithful service.  These men bring us a fresh harvest from God's garden each week.  So I ask you, which do you prefer?  Canned or home grown?  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and comments here.  It is a blessing to hear from you!

Picture of people gathered to eat is courtesy of


Anonymous said...

Homegrown is the best, though homemade pickles can be wonderful. And yes, I agree, the importance of the fellowship of a church is one important reason to belong to one.

Barbara Thayer said...

Amen Harmamae! I love homemade pickles. My grandmother made all kinds and they were wonderful to enjoy! Having a loving fellowship is the best too! We could not do well in this world without one. Blessings my friend!

Anonymous said...

"They may listen to someone preach on the radio or on a podcast, but it is not the same as sitting in the company of believers".

Barbara, This is sooo true! (Sadly, there are many places where there truly is no sound doctrine to sit under) But IF there are faithful preachers of God's Word in our communities we should by all means be there!!

I love-

"We are able to partake of this fresh food which our pastors have labored over in prayer during the week"

Any pastor worth his salt does this and substituting the TV, Radio, or Internet may provide a more "dynamic" sermon that one can easily listen to in their jammies, but it is no substitute for gathering to worship with the saints under the authority of the local church which is what God intended. Not only do we need real-time shepherding, and "fresh food", but we also need to be serving one another and to be accountable to one another. Whew! (Do you sense the passion here sister? :)

Thanks for a great post.

ps. Didn't know you were from Ohio! I was born in Mt Vernon.

Barbara Thayer said...

Oh my goodness Diane! We lived in Columbus, Ohio for about four years while my husband attended professional school there. Small world!

Thank you for sharing your passion and truth about being in fellowship one with another. I do agree with you there not all fellowships have the solid meat of the Word spoken...and that is sad....but praise God for the faithful shepherds who do preach the uncompromising Word of God each week. My soul is blessed to sit under their teaching.

Blessings to you dear sister and thank you for sharing your thoughts! It is an encouragement to me and to others who read here.