Monday, February 25, 2008

All the Credit to God

Parable of the Pumpkin and the Rock
It was almost time for the annual contest at the county fair to see who had grown the largest pumpkin. Farmer Williams was sure he would win first prize this year. He had labored all summer watering, fertilizing and tending to the growing pumpkins. Each of the pumpkins were measured and weighed and sure enough Farmer Williams had the largest pumpkin and he was awarded the first place ribbon. Farmer William was ecstatic about his victory and began to tell everyone about the fantastic pumpkin he grew. He explained how his watering and fertilizing techniques made the pumpkin grow and how his labors and superior intellect produced the winning pumpkin. Never once did Farmer Williams acknowledge God as a part of the formula to his success.

I would like to ask Farmer Williams one question, “Can you make a rock grow?” If the growth of the pumpkin was a result of his energy, labor and mental capacities then surely he could take a rock and plant, water and fertilize it, and make it grow. And if the rock initially did not grow then surely he could make the rock grow by doubling his efforts or improving his tactics.

Now Farmer Williams’ planting, watering, and fertilizing were essential to growing the pumpkin – but they enabled the pumpkin to grow; they did not actually make the plant grow. Farmer Williams took credit for something he didn’t really do. If Farmer Williams had power to make things grow by planting, watering, and fertilizing, then he could plant a rock and make it grow. Obviously no amount of effort will cause the rock to grow because the growth of a seed does not come from the farmer it comes from God. Farmer Williams has no more power to make a seed grow then he does to make a rock grow. Even though Farmer Williams efforts were required to enable the plant to grow and did not make the plant grow. Thus all credit and honor for the growth of the pumpkin is rightfully God’s.

The Savior teaches this principle in John 15:4-5 “. . . As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” St. Augustine wrote, “Christ does not say, without me ye can do but little, neither does He say, without me ye cannot do any [difficult] thing; nor without me ye can do it with difficulty: But He says, without me ye can do nothing!”

Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television, wrote, “I know that God exists. I know that I have never invented anything. I have been a medium by which these things were given to the culture as fast as the culture could earn them. I give all the credit to God.” (Paul Schatzkin, The Boy Who Invented Television, (Silver Spring, MD: Teamcom Books, 2002) p. 249)

A belief that your success is solely a result of your energies, labor and mental capacity will create the vices of pride, selfishness, and ungratefulness. The virtues of humility, generosity, and gratitude will fill our hearts, minds, and souls once you realize your total dependence on God and believe that all you have and are is a gift from Him.