Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Beautiful Gardens

Beautiful gardens among rocks, ruins, weeds and hardened paths...
Imagine the people of the world as patches of ground. Imagine each person as a potential garden spot.
The one is a thicket, overgrown; weeds and thorns and thistles, out of control. It's hard to imagine tender flower seeds being able to grow there.
The one is a hardened path. It's difficult to imagine that a few seeds and a bit of water could yield sweet smells or beautiful blooms.
The one has soil, ready enough, but it obviously shallow. You can see a lemon tree springing up in this soil, but shriveling quickly when there is so little subsoil for roots to grab to and grow.
The one is ready. It's ready for seed. The soil is fertile, deep and freshly plowed.
I just described the conditions of the soils in the Parable of the Sower (see Matthew 13).
Soils are not the hero or the focus of the story. The Sower is important. He sows. He liberally slings seed. And, in some plots of soil, beautiful gardens of God's goodness springs up.
What's interesting is that in every case, no matter the soil type, what springs up is foreign to the soil. IF it had been there, it would be there. It's not there. The Sower comes, slings seeds.
But, wait! Don't give up on those other plots! The interesting thing about the Sower is that He is also the Creator; He sustains all things by the word of His power, and all things that subsist, subsist according to His power. He can break up those rough places, clear away weeds, dig out rocks that create shallow soil and make for Himself a fertile field for a beautiful garden.
In every case, the Sower lays down what is not natural to that plot!
IF you see a God-garden walking around, you'll know it. What will make it beautiful will be that God's stuff is in it. God's stuff is in it AND it's very different from those other plots that are filled with other-than-God-stuff.
Someone may put up a sign and say, "God garden here" or have a bumper sticker that says, "God's my gardener" or where a t-shirt, claiming "God's flower" but don't be misled...signs be hanged; bumper stickers be stucked, t-shirts be'll know HIS gardens.
The likeness of Jesus will spring up amid a world of fools, and we shall call that fruitful and beautiful.
O Spirit, plow! IN ME! 
O Spirit, plant! IN ME! 
O Spirit, beautify! EVEN ME!

"Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." (Isaiah 58:8-11 ESV)

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