Before you begin reading, pause and close your eyes and thank God for something specific that you will/have enjoy(ed) today that’s the product of someone else’s labor, sacrifice or expenditure.
Now you are ready to read:
And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat (Joshua 24:13).
It’s just sweet serendipity when I go out to pick those berries. I know you will find this difficult to believe but I do not even think I knew about those four blueberry bushes when we bought the house. They were just thrown in, sort of incidentally, to the deal. I certainly did not dig the holes or plant them or tie them to the posts when they were young. I did not fertilize them or water them. Why, by the time I knew about them, they were much taller than I and laden with berries! What a blessing!
Granted, it’s not quite the same as a completely free gift (since we did pay for the land) but it was someone else who planted and watered (our good friends Candy and Phil Allen) and it was God who gave the bountiful increase.
When God gave Israel the land of Canaan, he moved them into houses they didn’t build and fed them with berries and fruits that they didn’t plant. He promised them the victories of these heathen nations and the spoils. Of course, when God is promising something, He can use the past tense, because His word is done-when- spoken.
But, in spite of the amazing conquest and the bountiful spoils, what did Israel do? They feared. They complained. They exhibited ingratitude. They were a whole lot like us. Here we are in the New Covenant era. We’ve been offered redemption. The victory has been won. The conquest over Satan has occurred. Heaven is a heartbeat away. It’s already in the preparing. We have the Word that’s done-when-spoken on that. But I hear people saying things like “Well, the Bible is just too hard to understand,” or “Do we have to go to worship every time the saints are assembling?” or “That command about withdrawing fellowship won’t work for us today,” or “Living the Christian life is just so hard,” or “Why did God make me suffer like this?”
Allegorically, we’re eating the berries we didn’t plant, while we complain about how hot it is while we’re picking or how hard it is to reach the top berries or how itchy the bushes are on our arms.
I hope you’re not taking your berries for granted. Someone else dug, planted, tied and watered. I hope you’re not taking your good family name for granted. Somebody worked to keep it that way. I hope you’re not taking your opportunity to stay home with your children for granted. Somebody else is making that possible. I hope you’re not taking your congregation’s faithfulness for granted. That doesn’t just happen. Somebody’s working hard toward that end. I hope you’re not taking your American freedoms for granted. Others died to make you free.
Most of all, I hope when you closed your eyes, you thought about the freedom from sin. I hope you remembered that Someone else purchased that for you. I hope you will/have enjoyed that blessing today. I hope when you closed your eyes, you thought of Calvary.