The story that taught me the most about what to do with worry.

This story was told by Otto Koning and has been retold many times, including in a book, you can even still find videos on YouTube of Otto Koning telling the story himself.

Otto Koning was born in the Netherlands a few years before World War II, and grew up to become a missionary in Papua New Guinea.

His stories are laced with very colonialist views and word choice and it’s easy to see how difficult the local villages must have found it to have a strange, white guy “move in”. From 1884, Papua New Guinea was “ruled” by three colonialist nations and only got it’s independence from this colonialism in 1975. This story comes from a time before their independence.

Otto and his wife bought a piece of land in Papua New Guinea and tied to farm pineapples there. During this time it really seems that God wanted to teach Otto Koning to control his anger and his worry. This story has a very good lesson for all of us.

Otto took a lot of pride in the pineapples that he grew. However just as the pineapples would ripen, locals would arrive and harvest them for themselves. Leaving Otto with none!

This was obviously extremely frustrating to Otto and he got really angry with the locals over the seven years that this took place.

Otto tried protecting his pineapples in many ways, even having a German Shepherd dog flown in to try protect his pineapple garden. Nothing worked. Which is fairly funny because he was there to preach to the locals and was instead getting more and more indignant and frustrated and angry at the locals.

Over the course of lots of prayer Otto slowly started to realise that in his mind the pineapple garden belonged to him, while God was actually trying to teach him that everything belonged to God - not him.

Eventually Otto gave his garden to God - and left it entirely in God’s hands.

This is such a different perspective to what we learn to do in life - we worry about money, we worry about pensions, we worry about investments, we worry about our house(s) and all our possessions. This idea that everything we own belongs to God is weird, but it’s also very freeing.

When I decided to become a full-time personal coach, I left a job that was stable and suddenly had zero income. I had enough money to last me 10 months - so I thought I would be 100% fine! God wanted to teach me that I was 100% fine, but I was 100% fine NOT because of anything that I had, but because of everything that HE HAD!

  • My first problem came up when I realised that I had enough money to study life coaching, but then I wouldn’t have enough to live on for 10 months. God whipped up TWO solutions - a friend offered to pay ALL my study fees and my father offered to pay my expenses for 6 months! My parents usually had no extra money, in fact just a bit before that they had only been able to pay a little towards my wedding because they just didn’t have anything else.

  • My second problem came up when covid hit and I realised that every single thing I was doing was face-to-face and suddenly I couldn’t see anyone and my workshops and clients dried up to almost nothing. I still had enough money for about 6 months. Covid restrictions lasted for over two years! And miracle by miracle God kept stretching what little there was and adding gift after gift to make it all work. Just like the miracle in the Bible about the 5 loaves and 2 fishes that fed 5,000 people - somehow 20 months after covid began I still had enough money left for 5 months 😮

So back to the story of the pineapple garden and Otto.

After Otto decided that his pineapple garden was God’s problem and not his own problem, a few things started to happen.

Otto started being less indignant and frustrated and angry with the local people. Instead he trusted God with his problems by intentionally reminding himself over and over that it was God’s problems, not his problems.

Locals started to have things go wrong and decided that the reason for their problems was because Otto had given his garden to his God. Soon locals started bringing fruit to Otto instead of taking pineapples from his garden. They believed that their problems in their village were because of taking prineapples from his garden and didn’t want any more problems in their village.

One day a local came to Otto and said to him, “You must have become a Christian, Otto. You don’t get angry anymore. We always wondered if we would ever meet a Christian.” They’d never associated Otto with the kind of person he was preaching about because his preaching did not line up with his life!

Otto had to look after this pineapple garden, but the worry and getting worked up about it had to be left with God.

I had to build my coaching skills, coach all those I could, and keep building my coaching business the best I could, but the worry and getting worked up about money had to be left with God.

The lesson for us - our problems are not our problems, our problems are God’s problems.

Do you want help in your journey to trust God?

It’s especially difficult to trust God when it feels like He isn’t helping you with a really big challenge. When it feels like it’s too difficult, everything is going wrong, nothing is making sense, and nothing is working out. I truly believe that when we are living with big challenges we need boundaries. Boundaries give you back control over your life where big challenges have left you feeling disempowered and helpless. And I truly believe that God believes in boundaries too. God wants us to be empowered, even when we are weak. If you’d like me to work through the Boundaries Bootcamp Workbook with you to empower you through your challenge(s), click the button to learn more.

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More questions?

I’m Lynda Wright, a certified life coach living in Cape Town, South Africa. I help people with big challenges to live with peace, joy, and love by empowering themselves with personal boundaries - no matter how big their challenge(s).

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