Two Lessons from the Cauliflower

Two Lessons from the Cauliflower

By Jim Ayer

“Honey, I really want to go to Duelekal and buy some cauliflower for tonight’s dinner.  It’s the first night and I want their meal to be special!”

Janene responded quickly, “We have all the food we’re going to need.  There is no reason to go.” 

“Ah, come on, the car isn’t here but it will only take a little while to walk there and it will be fun,” I cajoled. 

She finally responded, “Ok, ok, let’s go.  I know you won’t be happy until you get your way.” And she was right.

I wasn’t going to be happy because I had the overwhelming impression that I had to have that cauliflower.   We had been bouncing down a boulder infested roadway earlier in the day when I noticed it, a beautiful, green and white puffy pile of Cauliflower on a tattered grass mat. But we hadn’t stopped until we reached our lodge perched on a cliff overlooking the Himalayas.  I wouldn’t have any peace until the inner voice had been obeyed.

We moved at a fast pace desiring to return in time to fulfill our assignment as the head cooks for our  50 Maranatha volunteers working in Nepal.

There it was … my stack of cauliflower!  But before I could make my coveted purchase, I noticed a Steps to Christ in the window of a shop not far away.  This was highly unusual because, at the time, the country was an official Hindu nation and did not take kindly to sharing Christianity openly. 

Entering the store, I began to check out the nicely stocked shelves to see what else I could find.   I saw other Christian books but no other Adventist material.  “Can I be of service,” the shop-keeper asked in broken English.  “May I ask where you obtained the Steps to Christ,” I said.

He began to share his own story and testimony with me struggling over words here and there.  But I was able to glean enough from the conversation to discover that this man was the district pastor and leader of many church groups and had received the book from someone years before.  When he found out that I was an Adventist, he became very animated and asked if I would come and preach in his church.  “Yes,” I responded, “I will be happy to come.” 

This “Cauliflower Encounter” eventually lead  me to,  not only speak in his church, but opened the way to introduce him to Joel, the countries only Bible Worker who was able to share many happy days of  Bible study with him and meet with others of his faith as well.

On our way back to the lodge, loaded down with my prize, we felt a little like the two disciples from Emmaus, who, upon discovering that their traveling companion had been the Lord Himself, ran back to Jerusalem bursting with joy to share the good news.

Two important lessons emerge from our story.  First, God may only speak to one person in the relationship at any given time and not to the other one.  In this case, He impressed me to go get the cauliflower and not my wife.  But, we have learned over the years that when the Lord impresses one of us to do something for Him; we must allow that partner the latitude in judgment to follow God’s leading, regardless of whether or not we feel impressed. Following this rule has brought us many other “Cauliflower Encounters” and Emmaus road experiences over the years.

Perhaps the most important take-away in today’s story is that God speaks to us in 2010. Yes, it is true!

In the Garden of Eden Jesus loved to talk with the happy couple but it was the Devil’s studied plan to cut off all communication between God and Adam and Eve.  But, once broken, our Lord took the initiative to restore the severed lines of communication that had been ruined by Satan.  The story is found in Genesis 3; Jesus came calling out after the pair, “Where are you?”  Our Lord re-established verbal contact that day with the human race and He has never stopped talking to us since.  But the devil wants us to believe the lie that God has stopped talking to humanity … to you and to me.   He knows that where communication exists, there is power to resist his lies.

The Bible is jam-packed with examples of God talking with His people.   Consider Samson’s mother talking with the Angel of the Lord regarding her son’s up-bringing or Moses’ burning-bush conversation.  Remember Balaam’s talking donkey?  Or how about Elijah at the cave entrance when God whispered to him, “What are you doing here?”  Then there was Abraham, Jonah, Job, David,  young  Samuel, and Gideon. Why the list is almost endless! Yes, I want to include the blinding light encounter on the Damascus road when Jesus spoke powerfully to the Apostle Paul.   Oh, and don’t forget the red letter addition of the Bible─remember, it’s the one that has all of Jesus’ communication in red.

A burning bush, a blinding light, a talking donkey,  a whisper, the idea is not HOW God spoke but THAT He spoke!   Jesus communicated throughout the Old Testament to His people, He spoke to humanity in the New Testament and He still speaks to us today.  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8   Yes, in the 21st Century Jesus is still talking with His Sheep.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father said of the Son, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen─listen to him!” (Good News Bible)  And then we read in John 10:27, 28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (Underling provided by author)

Notice that the command from the Father to listen to Jesus is followed by His wonderful promise of eternal life, if we do as instructed!  But in order to do as instructed, we must hear what He is saying to us.  So the all important question is, how do we arrive at the point where our ears shall hear a word behind us, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it”? (Isa 30:21).

Ring, ring, ring. “Hello.  Yes, I’m doing fine but … who is this?  Janene, oh, hi honey!   I didn’t recognize your voice.”  Now gentlemen, how many times could you get away with not recognizing your spouse’s voice on the phone, maybe twice or three times max?  I can assure you that any more times than that and you would be talking to yourself!

Recognizing my wife’s voice has come as a result of spending time with her. And, with additional time, I can even recognize certain looks.

There is no substitute for spending quality time together and talking with one another.  If you want to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd speaking to you, you must spend time getting to know Him. We are told that, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee.”

                If you interviewed 10 happily married couples of 30 years or more, it’s likely you would discover a common thread of joy running through their lives. Oh there would be variations of course, but the underlying vein of gold will certainly be conversation.

Great numbers of previously happy married couples continually enter divorce court because the husband and wife no longer talk to each other. As time passed, they became so busy with their careers, children, and the race for money and possessions that the special time they once spent talking about life, dreams, and each other have been replaced with long work hours, television, and the computer.  The devil’s plan is working perfectly.

If you ask most divorced women what the biggest problem was in their broken marriage, the answer will most often be “lack of communication.” This is the reason for my recommendation to you to start a prayer journal.” He Shall Lift You Up, Jim Ayer, Remnant Publications, 2008

What to do?  If you are like me, it is difficult to form good habits and especially the good habit of spending time with God.  But this is exactly where our focus must be.  Allow me to share something with you that really works, it’s called “prayer journaling” and it has allowed me to focus my mind and prayer time on my Lord. 

I don’t know about you but I can start praying at night and ask God to bless the food that I’m about to eat … and I’m in bed, ready to go to sleep!  I can get distracted so easily that it’s amazing and discouraging all at the same time.  Talking to God by writing out my words (prayers) really helps me to stay on track.  It has transformed my prayer time and life.

I would like to challenge you to set aside 15 minutes of your time to pick up your pen and paper and write to God.   I will guarantee that if you stick with it, it will become a life-changing habit that you will not want to live without.  And you will soon hear the voice of God speaking to His sheep … YOU!