Under Construction: Lessons from a Pumpkin
Do you get as frustrated and impatient when entering a construction zone as I do? The lanes narrow and the traffic slows, sometimes coming to a complete halt. If you’re like me, we don’t like slowing down or being delayed. We need to get where we are going – and now!
How easy it is to have the same mindset when it comes to our growth in the Lord. As we know from planting a garden or flowerbed, however, growth is something that just can’t be rushed.
The apostle Paul knew that growth and maturity in the Lord took time: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.” (Philippians 3:12)
In this verse, Paul shares two things that can help us in our growth process: 1) he acknowledged he had not arrived and still had room to grow and 2) he determined that he would press on.
I am reminded of the chorus of an old song:
"He’s still working on me,
To make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me!
There really ought to be a sign upon my heart,
‘Don’t judge me yet, there’s an unfinished part.’
But I’ll be perfect, just according to His plan,
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hand.""
One day as Billy and Ruth Graham were driving through a stretch of road construction, after facing detours and slow traffic, they finally reached the end. All that was before them now was the smooth pavement. A sign caught Ruth’s attention: “End of construction. Thanks for your patience.” In Billy Graham’s book, Nearing Home, he detailed what Ruth chose to have written on her tombstone. Inspired by that construction sign, it states nothing other than “End of construction – thank you for your patience.”
Friends, our “construction” will come to an end one day. But until then, let’s press on.
Why? Because He is still working: “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
One fall my youngest son planted a pumpkin seed. After he watered it one day, I asked him, “What does it look like?” He answered, “It looks like a pumpkin that is growing!”
In other words, it didn’t look like a full grown pumpkin yet, but neither did it look like “nothing”. It looked like something that was in progress, changing - growing.
What a good reminder when we are tempted to become discouraged or disappointed in ourselves or with others: we are simply Christ-followers who are growing. Just as with the pumpkin seed, it does not happen overnight. Let’s keep our eyes on Him, allowing Him to do the work in us and in one another, for He is faithful.
Karen has shared the principle of the “fruit ladder” and we would love to share it again and even encourage you to print it in order to refer to it periodically. In short, it illustrates that the more we know Him, the more we will love Him. The more we love Him, the more we will obey Him. The more we obey Him, the more we will abide in Him. The more we abide in Him, the more we will bear fruit unto Him. So if the thought of “heart construction” feels overwhelming, simply focus on getting to know the Chief Architect and Master Gardener of your soul and trust that while the growth may be slow at times, He is at work. In the meantime, we can join Ruth Graham in giving thanks for His - and one another’s - patience as we each continue to be under construction, all for His glory. [Print “The Fruit Ladder” here.]
And lastly, with Halloween and All Saints Day coming up, Karen invites you to read more about these days and the impact made by Martin Luther by clicking here.
God bless you,