Growing Toward Weakness
This morning as I drove along the highway, I was busy studying the fields ripe for harvest. All along the way are cotton fields, soybean fields and corn fields. In the last two or three years, corn has become a larger crop in our area. I’m sure the Agriculture Department had something to do with that. Not only that, there has been a shortage of corn since the floods up North. I guess they are trying to levelize the playing field.
As I drove along I was busy thinking of the super weekend we had together on the subject of prayer and the greatness of God. There was really some awesome stuff shared, some of which I have not yet comprehended. And then… all of a sudden, as if God Himself were showing it to me, my eyes locked in on the corn fields.
I have a few rows of corn at home that looks just like the stuff in these large fields, but somehow there is a visual difference between 7 rows and 70 acres. The corn, once green and standing erect was now parched to a dusty brown. The leaves on the stalks once swayed in the morning breeze with an excellence and grace that would captivate even the hardest of heart. Now, those same leaves were bent and dry. No longer do they sway gracefully in the breeze, but they have lowered their proud arms to the earth. The ears of corn once pushing their way toward the sun as they swelled with their delicious fruit are now bowing their heads in perfect submission to nature. The corn is now mature. The farmers are not unhappy about it, they are pleased. For they know that the corn is worthless to them unless it matures.
The thing that struck me odd, is that I had to immediately re-define my definition and understanding of maturity. I always believed that maturity meant that I grew stronger and more resistant to the elements around me. I had always understood that growing to maturity meant that I knew more, did more, said more, felt more and got more involved in everything around me, but this cornfield taught me a lesson. The corn, once strong, standing tall and erect, was virtually useless until it matured to weakness. You see, when the corn is at it’s weakest point, it has it’s most value. It becomes useful when it is mature. Not only that, a mature cornfield is open to easy destruction. If a passing motorist throws a lighted cigarette out of a window into a field of growing corn, there is nothing likely to happen. On the other hand, if he throws it out in a mature field, it could burn the whole field over in a matter of minutes. It would seem that the mature corn would be more fire retardant, but not so.
God is a God of ultimate power and strength. He has proven that over and over again. We, on the other hand, are creatures that are powerless and weak. It is only in our arrogance that we deceive ourselves into thinking we are something when we are not. “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor. 1:22-25)
God is not interested in us being a bunch of know-it-all power people. He wants us to be useful. As long as we measure our maturity by our ability to stand tall and overcome every obstacle in our path, we are virtually useless. As a matter of fact, we do more harm than good. Do you believe that? Think about it! Think back and try to remember the people in your past who created church problems. Compare them to a stalk of corn. Were they lushly green, standing tall and erect, or were they dusty brown with their body bowed to the earth? … I thought you might see it that way.
Our objective is to mature into weakness. For in our weakness God’s glory and might can be clearly seen. He turned Nebuchadnezzar from green to brown, from standing tall to bowing to the earth, and in all of that God’s power was revealed and Nebuchadnezzar’s was measured and found wanting. God humbled the Pharaoh, Moses, Kora, Assyria, Paul, and the list goes on. Remember this, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”