Recently, I had the honor of eating lunch with Dr. Tom Tucker, Pastor of First Baptist Church in West Point, Georgia. As we were leaving to go to lunch, Tom showed me the “Community Garden” that is located across the street from the main entrance of the church. The church sponsors the garden as an outreach ministry to the community. It is quite a large plot. And right now it is filled with plants, blooms, and vegetables!
As we spoke about how beautiful the garden is and how it is meeting a need in the community, Tom began to tell me about the plot of land where the garden is located. “That plot of land hasn’t always looked like this,” he said. He continued, “That garden was the vision of Jack Combs. Now Aaron, when God gave Jack the vision for that garden, he was already retired and not in the best of health. And on top of that, the plot was filled with rocks and wasn’t suitable for a garden. But do you know what? For several years you were apt to see Jack in that plot of land, any day of the week and at any time during the day – ‘moving rocks!’”
Tom paused and his voice began to quiver. With tears welling in his eyes, he said, “Jack was my friend, but Jack never got to see his vision completed. Jack died. So, as a tribute to Jack and as an outreach to our community, the members of the church completed Jack’s Garden.” And by the way, it really is a beautiful garden!
As I digested what Pastor Tom had told me, it began to settle in on me that, sometimes God gives us a vision for something that we will never see come to full fruition, but nevertheless, God expects us to be faithful to – “move rocks!”
As I continued pondering what Tom had said about Jack Combs, I thought about the parable of the sower in Mark Chapter 4. I realized that everybody, regardless of the condition of their life, receives a portion of God’s grace. (Seeds) The harlot, the drunk, the drug addict, the liar, the hypocrite, the child molester, the deadbeat dad, and even the upright person – all receive a portion of God’s grace! However, in my opinion, one of the greatest failings of the church today is that we have “excelled” in producing “Soil Analysts” but our production of “Seed Sowers” is “woefully inadequate!” (Just ponder on that one!)
Jack Combs had a vision for a community garden, but he knew that unless the conditions changed, the plot could not sustain a garden! Sin gives us a stony heart. And the truth is that unless something changes that, we cannot sustain the life God wants us to have. However, the good news is that in Jeremiah 23:29(KJV) God teaches us that His Word is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. His truth “breaks us” and His love “changes us!”
Sometimes a root will enter the crevice of a rock through an opening that is no larger than a human hair. But once inside, it grows. And as it grows it changes its conditions by breaking and pushing the rock aside in order to find the nutrients to sustain the life of the tree.
Jack Combs was faithful to God’s call by moving rocks that would block the roots of plants that only existed in a garden he envision. Think about that.
Sometimes it’s all about a vision, moving rocks, and nothing else!