Scarecrow in the Cucumber Garden
The prophet Jeremiah lived in a day when the ruling leaders were spineless and had no courage. Often times they faced a crisis and would come to the prophet and ask, “What is God’s word on this issue?” When the prophet gave them God’s word, invariably the leaders would do the opposite thing.
The Babylonian army surrounded Jerusalem. The king came to Jeremiah and asked if he should flee to Egypt or stay in Judah. Jeremiah consulted with God and said that God wanted him to stay in Judah. But, as usual, the king packed his bags and started out to Egypt. Not only did he flee to Egypt, but he took Jeremiah and many leaders with him.
In Egypt, a familiar thing began to happen. God’s people became fascinated by the pagan gods and their practices. They flirted with these new ideas. They were tempted by them. Many people started to adopt the religious practices of the pagan gods.
Jeremiah 10 begins to contrast the true God of Israel with these pagan gods. The pagan gods are man-made. They cut a tree in the forest and craftsmen put gold and silver on it to make it pretty. They can’t speak, or move, or act.
Then comes an extremely descriptive word picture. He says, “These are no more than a scarecrow in a cucumber garden.” (Jeremiah 10:5)
I believe the outside world is looking at the church and saying, “They are nothing but a scarecrow in a cucumber garden–nicely built, beautifully crafted, lots of silver and gold, but it doesn’t move, doesn’t speak, and has no power to do anything.” The church is being slowly swallowed by the culture. We are dangerously falling prey to Paul’s warning to the people in Rome not to allow the world to squeeze the church into its mold. (Romans 12:1,2)
In many places, God’s church is alive and well today. There is a huge revival that started at Asbury University a few weeks ago, and has now spread to many, many campuses. Revival is happening among our young people. Are we open to repent of our sins, receive God’s forgiveness, and re-establish the church as God’s instrument for revival?
The church isn’t called to be a scarecrow in a cucumber garden. It’s called to be a place of revival that sets a standard for vision, moral responsibilities, justice, and being a light and salt to the world. Scarecrows are man-made and may even have a tag “made in America.” The church is God-made and bears the label “made in Heaven.”
I was speaking to the employees of a very successful company. The president stood before his employees and said, “In the top box of your organizational chart for this company, put Jesus Christ. He is the One that we are here to please. He is the One to whom we must be accountable.”
What if every church, every business, every organization, and every family put Jesus Christ in the top organizational box? Instead of the church looking like a scarecrow in a cucumber garden, we could fulfill God’s plan for redeeming the world!
The world is God’s garden. The church is God’s workers to plant strong seeds that produce the harvest God desires. God doesn’t need scarecrows, but strong, smart, dedicated workers.
Is your church a scarecrow or a revival participant?