There was a young boy who was very excited about the prospect of planting his first vegetable garden. He carefully picked out the seeds for the plants he wanted to grow. With great care he prepared the soil, clearing the weeds and softening it with water. The day he actually planted the seeds was full of anticipation. As he placed the last handful of earth over the little seeds, he dreamed of actually growing a vegetable that looked like the picture on the package.
Finally the day came for the boy to harvest his crop. With great excitement he plucked an ear of corn only to find a few kernels on most of it. Next, he picked some tomatoes and saw that lots of them were full of worms. Finally, he pulled up the carrots only to discover that the majority of them were a gnarly, twisted mess looking like nothing you would want to eat. To him, his long awaited garden was a failure!
Or was it? The fact is, there were some beautiful ears of corn, some lovely tomatoes and some delicious, perfectly formed carrots. For the boy, however, the lousy vegetables got far more attention than the good ones. Looking at the bigger picture, it is a miracle, really, that any of them grew.
In our lives, we tend to focus on the failures instead of the successes. The gnarly carrots of our failures and transgressions get more attention than the truly miraculous things that we have accomplished. The seeds of God’s grace have fallen on the good soil of our lives. Sure, the gardens of our lives have plenty of kernelless ears of corn, wormy tomatoes and gnarly carrots. They also have an abundance of accomplishments, triumphs and successes that need to be acknowledged and for which we say thank you.
As people created in God’s image, there is plenty of good soil. The significance of the garden is not what does not grow. The real point is the miracle that by God’s grace we accomplish wonderful things and real growth does happen, gnarly carrots and all.