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  • erhelms

Touch of the Master Gardener

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

We had dinner in the new home of my cousin, Kay when she had just moved back to Atlanta. It was a lovely evening during the course of which she showed us around her intriguing courtyard garden.

Both of us were drawn to the excellent job she, an artist, had done with laying stone for sitting areas and paths. My thoughts started whirling as I considered a favorite spot in our own backyard that was lower than the driveway by the slope of the land, making it very private and where we had a lone cement bench.

A few days passed before we were heading to home improvement stores and shopping for terrace stones to create a new garden for ourselves. My recently retired husband happily engaged in this new project; and we spent many weekend hours digging, leveling, dreaming and laying stone for our new outdoor room. We planted flowering shrubs along the curvy path leading to this beautiful new vista. Then blooming plants in pots next to and behind the bench created just the right vibe for a secret garden.

When the last plant was planted and the path level, the fun of covering everything with pine bark mulch, began. It was meticulous! We were so excited and thought about how much it looked like the many flower shows we had attended. What a delight to sit on the bench, savor the beauty; and worship the One who created everything for our enjoyment.

A few rainy days kept us out of the garden, and when I walked back out to look at it, to my horror there were seemingly thousands of little green weeds coming up in the path and between plants. How quickly it had changed from a spotless, manicured beauty to a garden in need of a gardener on her knees.

Three parallels to my walk with our Lord suddenly struck me as I began to pull weeds.

First, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly a voracious weed can appear seemingly out of nowhere and spoil the beautiful scene. In my thoughts too, there can appear surprising attitudes, at the most unexpected times, that if allowed to linger and be nurtured could develop into sin. Just as my garden needs faithful attention, so do my thoughts and my walk with my Lord.

A little time with Jesus, the Master Gardener, allows Him to point out the weeds in my heart that can choke our relationship. He brings to my attention wrong attitudes, motives, and thoughts. Selfish ambition, pride, arrogance, and hurt feelings can stunt my spiritual growth; but I can confess and turn from them, and be forgiven. “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15, NASB).

Second, sin slows my spiritual growth similar to the way unwanted weeds can impede my flowers. However thoughts of kindness, love, joy, peace and other fruits of the spirit are to my heart as fertilizer, water, and sunshine are to the garden. We will naturally develop a beautiful spirit bringing glory to our Father, as a result of an ever deepening relationship with Jesus.

Third, it becomes obvious what kind of seeds were planted by what kind of flowers, fruits or trees develop. What kind of seeds are we planting in our hearts? Jesus said in Matthew 12:34b, NASB, “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”

I feel close to God when I visit with Him in the garden; but even closer when I yield my heart to His Master Gardener’s touch.

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