Summary: My series continues based on Max Lucado's book Just Like Jesus. In this sermon, we learn that having a pure heart begins with praying for one, and then continues with the necessary weeding and seeding.
A. How many of you would consider yourselves to be a good gardener? Do you have a green thumb?
B. Here’s a little piece I found called “Top 8 Things I Have Learned About Gardening.”
#8. Nothing ever looks like it does on the seed packet.
#7. Whichever garden tool you want is always at the back of the shed.
#6. The only way to ensure rain, is to give the garden a good soaking.
#5. Weeds grow at precisely the rate you pull them out.
#4. Autumn follows summer, winter follows autumn, drought follows planting.
#3. The only way to guarantee some color in the garden all year round is to buy a garden gnome.
#2. Grass won’t grow in the yard, but you can’t keep it from growing in the cracks between the patio stones.
#1. When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is not a weed.
C. I don’t consider myself much of a gardener, but I want to use gardening as a backdrop and metaphor for our lesson today.
1. Suppose you came over to visit me one day at my house and you found me working in my greenhouse (Of course, I don’t have a greenhouse, but let’s pretend).
2. I show you around my greenhouse which you notice is very nice, state of the art, perfectly suited for growing things.
3. You ask me what I’m growing and I tell you that I’m growing some of the finest flowers and fruits you can imagine.
4. Then you ask me where I got the seeds, and I tell you that I just went out into a field nearby and stripped the seeds off of all the weeds that were growing there – crab grass, dandelions and thistles.
5. You look surprised and ask, “If you want to grow the finest flowers and fruits, don’t you think you should be planting flower seeds and fruit seeds?”
6. Then you are dumbfounded by my answer, I say, “Do you have any idea how much those seeds cost? And besides, I would have to drive to a store to get them. No I decided to take the cheap and easy route.”
7. You walk away mumbling something about me not being the sharpest knife in the drawer.
D. Everybody knows that you reap what you sow, right.
1. We know that if you plant pumpkin seeds, you don’t get peppers.
2. If you plant dandelion seeds, you don’t get daffodils.
3. Yet strangely, what we know when tilling the soil, we forget when cultivating the heart.
E. I want to suggest that our hearts are like greenhouses.
1. Like greenhouses, our hearts are perfectly suited for growing.
2. Just like in a greenhouse, the soil of our hearts must be carefully cultivated and the seeds must be carefully chosen.
3. Let’s imagine that our thoughts are like seeds.
4. Just like seeds, some thoughts become flowers and others become weeds.
F. So if the heart is a greenhouse and our thoughts are seeds, shouldn’t we be careful about what we sow?
1. Shouldn’t we be selective about the seeds we allow to come into the greenhouse of our hearts?
2. Shouldn’t there be a sentry at the door?
3. Shouldn’t guarding the heart be a high priority and shouldn’t it be a strategic task?
G. That’s how the Bible encourages us to think about it.
1. Look again at our Scripture reading: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Pr. 4:23).
2. Notice the priority – “above all else” – it is a very important thing; most important, in fact.
3. Notice the reason – “for it is the wellspring of life” – it is a key to life itself.
4. Another translation of Proverbs 4:23 reads, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Good News Bible)
H. Let’s illustrate how that principle works in everyday life.
1. Consider two drivers who are stuck in the same traffic jam.
a. One person stews in anger, thinking, “My day is ruined.”
b. The other person sighs in relief, “This is a good chance to slow down for a minute.”
2. Consider two mothers who face the same tragedy.
a. One is destroyed, saying, “I’ll never get over this.”
b. The other is despondent but determined, saying, “God will get me through this.”
3. Consider two executives who face the same success.
a. One pats himself on the back and grows cocky.
b. The other gives the credit to God and grows grateful.
4. What is the difference in each case? The difference is what they are thinking.