by Phil Callaway

A farmer purchased an abandoned farm. The house was falling apart, the fences were broken down, and the fields were overgrown with weeds. The town preacher stopped by to bless the man’s work, saying, “May God and you work together to make this the farm of your dreams!”

A few months later, the preacher returned. The once-dilapidated farmhouse was completely rebuilt. Broken-down fences housed livestock happily munching grass. The fields were filled with crops planted in neat rows.

“Amazing!” said the preacher. “Look what God and you have accomplished together.”

“Yes, Reverend,” said the farmer, “but remember what the farm was like when God was working it alone.”

The truth is, we do our part, but without the Creator, there would be nothing to start from. If you doubt me, try growing carrots from scratch.

The people of Almolonga agree. Located in the cool highlands of Guatemala, the town was once ravaged by poverty, fear and violence. A city of 19,000, Almolonga’s four prisons were so packed that overflow prisoners were bussed to a nearby city. Alcoholism was rampant. Stroll through town in the morning and you had to step over men passed out on the street.

The times were dark. Most locals worshipped idols and ancestral spirits. Christians were a despised minority. Preachers were chased away with sticks and rocks.

One day, a local pastor, Mariano Riscajche, was abducted by six men, and a gun barrel was shoved down his throat. Mariano silently prayed for protection. A man pulled the trigger. The gun clicked. But didn’t go off.

Mariano called his small congregation together to fast and pray day and night. Each Saturday, they held a prayer vigil for their community.

Things began to change. Men began leaving the bars and coming to church. Many cut ties with the spirits they feared. Churches grew; lives changed. The crime rate declined. In 1994, the last of Almolonga’s four prisons was closed.

The people of Almolonga agree. Located in the cool highlands of Guatemala, the town was once ravaged by poverty, fear and violence. A city of 19,000, Almolonga’s four prisons were so packed that overflow prisoners were bussed to a nearby city. Alcoholism was rampant. Stroll through town in the morning and you had to step over men passed out on the street.

Today, locals insist that as the spiritual climate changed, the land changed, too. Talk about climate change. As people were set free, they began working the land more efficiently and harvesting bumper crops. Growers once exported four trucks of vegetables a month. Today, their payload exceeds 40 trucks a week!

When reporters and researchers drop by to find out why the town’s veggies are so big, they find carrots the size of a man’s forearm, and they find grinning farmers who give the credit to God.

“God had nothing to do with it,” skeptics say. “It’s just better farming principles.” But few can argue that it isn’t just the veggies that have been altered. Almalonga is a stunning picture of the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, I’m not a come-to-Jesus-and-your-veggies-will-explode kind of guy. “The rain falls on the just and the unjust,” said Jesus (see Matthew 5:45). But God also promises, “If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Over and over, the Bible tells us that our heavenly Father longs to pour out His blessing on those who love Him and there won’t be room enough to store it. So let’s take care of the small stuff and watch Him take care of the rest.

Phil Callaway
Author: Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway is a speaker, author, and host of Laugh Again Radio. Visit him at www.philcallaway.com