The Parable of the Celery Farmer
Once upon a time there was a celery farmer who was going on a long journey and didn’t know when he would return. He committed oversight of his celery farm to a hired hand. “When I return, you will have to give an accounting of how you managed my farm,” he said. “I want you to produce the best celery you can. My reputation depends on it. I once harvested 40,000 pounds of celery per acre. Try to break my record. Do you understand what I am asking you to do?” “Yes, I understand,” said the hired man. “You want more and better celery.” “Exactly,” said the farmer. “See you later. Remember what I told you.” The hired hand quickly discovered growing more and better celery was hard work. Weed pulling never stopped. He sweated under summer’s burning heat. His hands felt like blocks of ice when he processed celery in the late fall and early winter. He harvested 35,000 pounds per acre but concluded that raising celery was a hard way to make money. The celery farmer didn’t return.
The next season the hired hand planted wheat instead of celery. He learned the methods of successful wheat farmers. He harvested 30 bushels per acre the first year, 40 the second and 50 the third. “The celery farmer will be overjoyed when he returns,” he thought. One June day the celery farmer returned. He didn’t recognize his farm. Instead of celery, wheat was everywhere. The celery farmer was angry. He had made his will crystal clear before he left. More and better celery is all that mattered to him. More and better wheat or corn or anything else is no substitute for more and better celery. The celery farmer fired the hired hand on the spot. Many churches use offerings and attendance as a measure of success. They aren’t bad things but measuring them is not our Commission. We are to make more and better followers of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). Rewriting the job description Jesus gave us doesn’t make God happy!
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