>Love Upward first, and Outward also.<
Our Lord offers us a “Table”.
We have a table in our garden now. We wasted no time in this point. “Turtle Gardens”, as I call them, are about a table… The Lord’s Table… and an invitation to slow down and hear God.
I recently spent time with a man in the hospital room he was about to leave, after spending many weeks there. We will give this man the name of Larry.
Larry was dancing with the Grim Reaper on a daily basis. His prospects did not look good, and yet I’m here to say somehow he has survived. He is no longer dancing with the Reaper. God seems to have spared his life. Most of the time we do not know why one person dies while another is granted more time.
Larry was no angel either. Strip Clubs, drinking, motorcycle gangs, divorced twice, a life seeking whatever caught his fancy. However, during his time in the hospital he had a lot of time to think, and a chance encounter with my brother-in-law ended up with him asking Jesus to forgive his sins and receive him into his Kingdom. Larry humbly came to the Lord’s Table: The blood, the bread, and the cross. He crossed over from being an enemy of God and joined the family. But now there is a certain test that begins.
Is he teachable?
I have business type cards for this blog site and the Teepee Retreat. On the back of my cards I ask a couple questions: 1.) What value? 2.) Are you teachable?
The Bible says we have this “Treasure” in earthen vessels, or clay pots. (II Cor. 4:7) What is the treasure it is speaking of?
Well… first of all… your soul! It is the only part of you that is eternal. We are a spirit (soul) contained in a body until released. Released into what? God’s Word calls our body a “body of death”, and so it is. It basically starts dying from the time we are born, but the soul, God says, is eternal, and it will either spend an eternity in a place “with God”, or “without God”. Our choice. The big fork in the road! We all choose one or the other.
So…my first question. “What value?” What value do you place on YOUR eternal soul? Do you treat it as a great treasure? Or ignore it, gamble with it, don’t believe in it, take it for granted, leave it to rot, assault it on a daily basis, cast it away like so much trash? This great “gift” God gave each of us. How we appreciate this gift reveals a lot about what kind of person we are. If you find that insulting, I’m sorry, but it’s true. Think about it. Have you ever given someone a great gift, only to watch them waste it?
Larry now faces this same question. We all face this question whether we are saved or not, but what does it mean when someone seems to sincerely receive Christ and yet goes on to ignore the relationship? Are they willing to spend time at the Lord’s Table? Do they value their soul and salvation enough to be “Teachable”?
I remember when I popped the big question to a very attractive young lady I was hoping would be my wife. Will you marry me? She could have said no. But when she said yes, I realized what a precious relationship she was granting me. Have I treasured that relationship? If not, I should be horsewhipped. But I think I treasure her more and more even as the years go by. What of our relationship to God? Is that not an even bigger gift? An even bigger marriage?
Planet earth is a garden in which both good and bad seed has been sown. What separates the good from the bad? A teachable spirit. Also known as discipleship.
Those Children of Israel God rescued from Egypt died in the wilderness because they had an unteachable spirit. I can plant a live flower in my garden, but if I neglect it long enough it will die. If I’m unwilling to learn how to garden and apply what I learn, then my garden will go back to wilderness. These are basic spiritual principals taught to us by nature itself. Nature, God’s silent witness. The wise understand that nature confirms God’s Word, and learns from it. Am I teachable?
The bad seed says, “I don’t care what my Creator says or desires. I’m my own boss. I’ll do as I please. I decide what is good or bad, right or wrong. Don’t put no guilt on me. To hell with God. I bow to no one. I don’t care I didn’t create myself, and can’t keep myself. I throw myself away so I can love my sins.”
A clay pot is a very fragile vessel to declare such big things. Fools are born every day, and you can usually tell when you hear one talking. The clay pot will suddenly break and their only treasure will be lost. But what is wrong with this treasure that it treasures the wrong things? Created from the God who said, “let there be light”, and yet chooses darkness.
Have we considered the wisdom of God to put such treasure in clay pots? It shows the utter foolishness of pride. Only a COMPLETE fool ignores their own mortality when eternity is within their reach! And only a COMPLETE fool ignores their own Creator.
Those who treasure the temporary earthly pleasures of a dying world more than the eternal pleasures of their Creator will never become a part of the garden God is planting. If you don’t like God’s pruning and gardening, then the wilderness will over take you again. You may think you want to be king of the jungle, but believe me, you are a clay pot, and the jungle will eat you alive!
As for Larry, from what I hear he is hungry to know more. He is teachable. He is willing to read, study, and listen. He will have a bright spot in God’s garden if he remains teachable, as will we all. His life will bloom before him, one day at a time, under God’s skillful care, for all eternity.
So I hope you value the treasure in you, not only your soul, but also the Holy Spirit and God’s Word too. I hope you treasure it, for where our treasure is, there is our heart also. This clay pot will certainly break one day, and when it does I want it to be freedom! Not another prison. Praise God forever. Plant me in your garden Lord, and let me bloom!
Turtle Gardens Forever!