The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do?' Luke 12:16-17
This past year my garden was prolific. At the peak of its output of beans, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and more, we could not eat and preserve the produce fast enough. Secretly I took pride in the fruits of my hard work. And, strangely, the more I did that, the more possessive I became.
My father-in-law, who taught me most of what I know about gardening, has always been a wonderful corrective to my pride and perverse possessiveness. From time to time, he will say something like “You have good dirt.”
The parable told by Jesus about greed has an even greater impact. Did you notice that “the ground” is the star of the show? The ground of an already rich man “yielded an abundant harvest.” This is a humbling reminder for all farmers and gardeners.
An abundant harvest depends on good ground and so much more. Blinded by pride in our own efforts, we lose sight of God, others, and the delight of being generous with God’s gifts. In a word, we become fools in the sight of God, the good and perfect giver of life and of all that is needed for our lives. The person who is “rich toward God” is ever learning to be grateful and generous with the produce from God’s garden. --Don Byker
From the devotional book, "Dear Abba" Brennan Manning tells a story of an older man who longed for a deeper prayer life. After unsuccessfully trying to comprehend scholarly books on the subject, he finally tried praying in a very child-like manner, by picturing Jesus seated in the chair beside his bed and talking to him. He found that he liked it so well, that he did "a couple hours a day." When the old man fell ill, he confessed to the local minister this daily habit of his conversations with Jesus. "I'm careful though," he told the minister. "If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair she'd ..send me off to the funny farm." The minister, profoundly moved by his story, promised no to reveal his secret.
Two Days later the old man's daughter called the minister to tell him of her father's passing. "Did he seem to die in peace?" the minister asked. The daughter assured him that her father had indeed gone quite peacefully. "But there was something strange, she said reflectively. "In fact beyond strange, kinda weird. Apparently just before father died, he leaned over and rested his head on the empty chair next to his bed." This old man knew his heavenly Father. He had learned to share the kind of intimate friendship with his heavenly Father that is available to each of s today.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Our Heavenly Father is waiting for each of us to slow down and to come sit by his chair and listen to His voice. He is the friend who is always there, the one who does all the magnificiant work of converting the 'desert of lonliness' within into the spaciously beautiful garden of solitude where the true self comes forward and flourishes in His presence.