April 03, 2015
Picture this: You're an aging widow living in a house that has suddenly become way too big for you. Winter is relatively easy; all you have to do is clean. But spring makes you weak in the knees, because that garden you built 30 years ago is begging for attention that you haven't been able to give it for years. Now that the daffodils are coming up, you can no longer ignore it: You go out and prune a few roses, rake up a bag or two of leaves and retreat to your recliner, overwhelmed and aching, wondering what in the world you were thinking when you replaced all that lawn with flower beds.
If that sounds like someone you know, and you've got some extra energy and strength to spare, maybe this is your chance to lend a hand -- and in the process to develop a Christ-honoring relationship with her.
If she's already a Christian, you'd be obeying the Lord's command to love one another (see John 13 and 15, for starters). And if she's not -- well, what better way to show the love of Christ than to help her complete a job that's probably breaking her heart?
You don't have to be an experienced gardener. She will teach you all you need to know. In fact, she'll probably work at your side, finding new joy in spring clean-up now that she's no longer undertaking it alone.
And what an opportunity to present the gospel! The spring garden offers ample opportunities to talk about the word of God. For instance:
- Pruning a vine or shrub? Refer to John 15. "I am the true vine," Jesus said, "and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." Just think of the insights she could lend to this metaphor.
- If you’re helping to prepare and plant a seedbed, consider 1 Corinthians 15 and the metaphor that the apostle Paul used to address the question of our resurrected bodies. "What you sow is not made alive unless it dies," he wrote. "And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain..." What a lead-in to a discussion of heaven.
- When clean-up is complete, perhaps you’ll be moved to compare the results to the perfection of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 and 3. For it was here that the Master Gardener defined mankind’s purpose, and here that mankind blew it by believing the lie and disobeying Him. And it will be in just such a place, according to at least some Christians, that the Lord will restore His perfect kingdom once again, for all eternity – another excellent segue into the subject of heaven, and how to ensure yourself of a place there.
That’s just the start. For more examples, simply google a phrase like “gardening metaphors in the Bible.”
Who knows? If you’ve never before experienced the scent of moist garden soil in spring, you may find yourself developing a wonderful new hobby – one that your new friend might feed by giving you divisions of some of her favorite old, and overgrown, perennials.
But most important, you’ll either be expressing your love for a fellow believer, or living out the Great Commission -- planting, watering and feeding seeds of faith that the Lord will make grow.Written by Kitty Foth-Regner at www.everlastingplace.com Photo used with permission of Everlasting Place