Now for many years the ground brought forth good fruit. And a certain man cared for the ground and treated it with loving care. He watched the little plants break through the soil. He watered them and he fed them using the latest of methods. He loosened the soil. He watched for insects and worms and other pests ere they would destroy the plants growing in the garden. He rejoiced during the late spring and summer as the plants grew and became exceeding tall.

Never had he seen plants so tall and so vigorous. But alas the time of the harvest came and no fruit appeared. In its place on every branch only thistles grew.

This certain man thought carefully of his procedure. He had properly nourished these plants and watered them. He had loosened the soil. He had protected them, but surely in all these things something must have gone awry. And as he turned to his garden directive to seek further information he saw a package upon the shelf. And suddenly he cried with great distress, “Lo, though I have done all things, one thing have I not done. I neglected in my eagerness, to plant the seeds in the garden.”

And while the things which he did were good; because he left out the most important thing, all things were useless and the garden produced only weeds.

For many years the church had brought forth good fruit before the Lord God, producing Christians who stood humbly rejoicing in God’s great mercy made available through Jesus Christ and his Cross. And now a new generation of leaders was serving the church and they cared for many people within the church. They nourished them with education and seminars, and watered them with a Sunday coffee hour. They used the latest methods including the development of togetherness, oneness, and a sense ...

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