Carrots do far better up north than down here in Florida. Whether it's the climate or the lack of nutrition in the sandy soil, I don't know, but we seldom bother planting them. One year we did though, planting them late by Florida standards, so I was just pulling carrots the first week of June. It wasn’t difficult; I pulled the whole row in about 15 minutes. Still, it was disappointing—a twenty foot row yielded a two and a half gallon bucket of carrots that turned into a two quart pot when they were cleaned and sorted, cutting off the tops and tossing those that were pencil thin or bug-eaten.
Then I thought, well, consider the remnant principle in the Bible. Out of all the people in the world, even granting that the population was much less than it is now, only eight were saved at the Flood. Out of all the nations in the world, God only chose one as His people. Out of all those, only one tribe survived the Assyrians, and out of all those, only a few survived the Babylonians and only 42,000 of those returned to the land out of the 1,000,000 or so in Babylon. What's that? 4.2%?
Jesus spoke of the wide gate and the narrow gate. Surely that tells us that though God wishes all to be saved, only a few will be. So out of a twenty foot row of carrots, I probably threw out half. Then we threw out a third of those that were too small to even try to scrub and peel. Yet we probably did better with our carrots than the Lord will manage with people! And I learned other principles that carrot-pulling day, too.
When I pulled those carrots some of them had full beautiful tops, green, thick-stemmed, and smelling of cooked carrots when I lopped them off. Yet under all that lush greenery several had very little carrot at all. They were superficial carrots—all show and no substance. Others were pale and bitter, hardly good for eating without adding a substantial amount of sugar. Then under some thin, sparse tops, I often found a good-sized root, deep orange and sweet. Yes, they were all the same variety, but something happened to them in the growth process.
Some of us are all top and no root. It always surprises me when a man who is so regular in his attendance has so little depth to his faith. Surely sitting in a place where the Word is taught on a consistent basis should have given him something, even if just by osmosis. But no, it takes effort to absorb the Word of God and more effort to put it into practice, delving deeper and deeper into its pages and considering its concepts. The Pharisees could quote scripture all day, but they lacked the honesty to look at themselves in its reflection.
And there are some of us who have little to show on the outside, but a depth no one will know until a tragedy strikes, or an attack on the faith arises, or a need presents itself, and suddenly they are there, standing for the truth, showing their faith, answering the call. I knew one man who surprised us all with his strength in the midst of trial, a quiet man hardly anyone ever noticed. Yet his steadfastness under pressure was remarkable. I knew another who had been loud with his faith, nearly boasting in his confidence that he was strong, yet who shocked us all with his inability to accept the will of God, his assertions that he shouldn’t have to bear such a burden when he had been so faithful for so long. Truly those carrot tops will fool you if you aren’t careful. “Judge not by appearance,” Jesus said, “but judge righteous judgment.” Look beneath those leafy greens and see where and how your root lies.
Evidently the principles stand both for man and carrots. Don’t count on your outward show, your pedigree in the faith. Develop a deep root, one that will grow sweeter as time passes and strong enough to stand the heat of trial.
And don’t assume you are in the righteous remnant if that righteousness hasn’t been tested lately. God hates more to throw out people than I hate to throw out carrots, but He will. Don’t spend so much time preening your tops that your root withers. And finally, only a few will make it to the table; make sure you are one of them.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20