Grace Among the Gourds

by APC on November 11, 2015

We’re amid the fall season and everywhere we look we see various types of gourds. The most famous, albeit the more familiar of the gourd family, is the pumpkin. Pumpkins have one purpose in my book: to be cleaned, pureed, and made into pumpkin pie, bread, muffins, etc. Any type of food will do!

I’m amenable to eating the pumpkin goods, but not so much to the cleaning and making part. Why? There’s a major gross factor associated with the process: scraping out the inside of the pumpkin, complete with the slime and seeds. There’s just something about sticking your hands into the inside of a pumpkin, feeling the cold inside, slimy seeds…well, I’ll just leave the rest up to your imagination. It’s not a glamorous undertaking.

All that inside pumpkin goo winds up in the trash. It seems like kind of a waste when you think about it. All of what is typically revered about a pumpkin is the basic shell. So much of it is discarded as unuseful.

While we’re human, we share many similarities to a pumpkin. Some of us are oddly shaped, have a few surface imperfections, and are different colors. But, we’re also cold-hearted and definitely, without a doubt, gross on the inside. If you don’t believe me, just pinch yourself—that’s your flesh: it hurts and it’s the worst part of us. Our flesh is what gets us into trouble, opens us to sin, sways us to desire the things of the world instead of heavenly things, allows ungodly words to come out of our mouth, and the list goes on and on.

Unlike the pumpkin, we can’t scrape out our insides and be an empty shell. We have a unique brain and an individualized heart and soul, and we kind of need that to exist. This is who we are folks. We all are misshapen pumpkins and don’t compare with the glory and perfection of Christ (Romans 3:23).

But, amazingly, God does something different with our insides:

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart (II Corinthians 3:3, KJV).

God implanted His Word in the fleshy walls of our hearts (insides). The seeds from the Word of God that live inside of us help to shape and mold us into something that is pleasing to God. It makes our inside not so cold, slimy, and stony, but gives us a heart to love God and have a mind after His ways (Ezekiel 36:26).

God uses the worst of us and transforms it into something that’s worthy in His eyes. He gives us a chance to be something—not just trash! He gives us a chance to live righteously and holy in this present world. He doesn’t see what we are today, but what we will be tomorrow (Romans 4:17).

Our Creator extends grace and new mercies to us each day (Lamentations 3:22–23). He doesn’t just throw us out in the trash, but he nurtures us, and waters the seeds He planted in us among our rocky interior with His Spirit, love, mercy, and grace.

It’s hard to see ourselves beyond our “gourded” make-up. But, can we try to see ourselves the way God does—the treasure instead of trash, earth-shattering ministry instead of insignificant no-body, soul-winner instead of a hollow shell? We are more than a mere pumpkin in the patches of life. Because of Jesus, there is truly grace among the gourds.