Here’s a great little story a good friend of mine wrote. I think it really puts the term “religion” in the proper prospective. Religion quenches the Holy Spirit. It is also a product of the enemy.

Luke 16:13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other.

Religion is man’s way of appeasing God and meeting a standard that man believe’s is favorable to God. But God wants to have a relationship with us not based on our works but on the Blood of His Son Jesus Christ shed for us at Calvary. He already accepts us. Not because of what we do but because of what He did for us.

The parable of the Bean

Once there was a man who had a remarkable bean plant. The fruit of this plant was extremely nourishing and those who ate it thrived. The man, fearful that other plants might contaminate this precious plant, built a huge wall around it. He only let in those who promised to eat only this bean and nothing else. The man was very suspicious and he devised all sorts of special rules for those who could eat the bean. And so among all people everywhere only a small group was able to partake of this nourishing vegetable and all others were kept outside the wall. The legend grew outside the wall that the bean was magic and that those who ate it were demons. Inside the wall it was felt that all outside were no better than unclean animals and were to be shunned at all cost and could be killed at will if they should interfere with those who ate the bean behind the wall.
And thus the world remained for about 1000 years. The fortunes of the bean-eaters rose and fell in cycles as do the fortunes of most small groups of people. But they held to their beliefs even in the worst of times, looking to see how they had offended the bean-plant and thus become unworthy of its blessing. It good times they lorded it over those outside the wall, slaughtering them without a second thought if it allowed them to expand the wall and grow more bean plants.
But one day, a man born inside the wall, became disenchanted with the whole idea that the precious bean plant was only for a few. He took some seeds of the bean plant and wandered outside the wall and wherever he went, he planted the bean until if flourished in many gardens. He preached that this precious bean was for all that no special rules were required. Eat of the bean and enjoy life-everlasting he said. And many were attracted to this man, and followed his example, eating the bean and sharing it with whoever was hungry.
Those who hoarded the bean-plant behind the wall were outraged. They considered this wandering gardener to be a heretic and they had him killed. But the open garden message lived after the gardener had died. It was almost as if the gardener was resurrected each time and place a bean-plant sprouted and grew. And those who ate the beans believed like the gardener that this nourishment was for all and his fame and his gardens appeared in many places throughout the world and wherever a garden grew there were those who came from far and wide and browsed, eating the beans and spreading love for one another.
But there were some who looked on this uncontrolled sharing and were angry. “Look at that,” they cried. “We’ve been tending these gardens for years and those others just come in and help themselves. It isn’t fair.” One by one the tenders of gardens began building walls around their gardens to keep out those who hadn’t done their share in tending the fields. An emperor, seeing the strength of these many walled gardens and their potential as forts, embraced them all, raised up the head gardeners as little kings within their gardens and set standard rules for all who could come into the gardens to feed. The rules oddly looked a lot like the rules that worked to make the emperor secure on this throne.
Those who controlled the new walled gardens weren’t content with controlling their own patch. Wherever they found a garden growing wild, they ripped it up less those others feast on the beans. Thus was the vision of the gardener, who freed the beans and made them available to all, perverted and then lost.
Strangely, while in the wild the beans had become stronger and even more nourishing, now that they were cultivated and packaged for controlled sale to the select few, they began to lose their nutritional value and most important, the love that sharing the beans engendered, was replaced by hatred and war.
Isn’t it time again for some brave soul to take the seeds and begin once again to sow them in the wild where they can nourish whoever passes by? I think so. And wherever you see a person building a wall around their plot of beans, encourage that the person to tear down the wall. The beans don’t need to be protected. The more who feed on them, the more there will be.

October 19, 2007 by Mike Calvo | Comments (0) | bean | parables | Jesus | religion