The Master Gardener

Let me show you my beautiful garden
Although it no longer belongs to me.
With all my toiling, sun up to sun down
My garden was not meant to be.

Little did I know of the seeds,
Seeds of deception and lies—
Until one day a stranger asked
“Why the despair in your eyes?”

“I’ve tried,” said I to this gentle man.
To water, to nourish,
the seeds which were given to me.
For fear of ridicule at what HE would behold,
I hesitated when HE said, “May I see?”

“I love gardens,” HE said,
“Where comes from the earth.”
The most beautiful of things!”
As I opened the gate and said “Come in.”
I thought I would see him cringe.

For row upon row, stood the harvest of my years.
Fear, distress, and worry, watered by my tears.
“Oh, look there.” HE said,
as he pointed to the corner of the field.
“What a beautiful bud, and a healthy plant.
What delightful fruit it will yield.”


“But,” I said. “It’s only one—so unlike the rest.
I have given it no time.
I didn’t think it worth my effort.
Neither did I think it mine.

Blown, perhaps, by some distant wind,
From where I knew not of.
Left to itself—it was its own—
With nothing for me to solve.

The others required all of me—
And I’ve given all that I know to give.
With nothing in return—no delight—
No reason for me to live.”

HE knelt beside me in the dirt.
As I crouched and poured out my tears.
From His eyes came the same.
As if HE knew my fears.

“What can I do dear Sir—kind man,
For these, my plants, my friends?
Do you have plants? Do you have a garden,
To which you must attend?”

HE said, “I thought you might need help.
That’s why I came along.
Yes, my child, I have many gardens
To which I belong.

They were given to me
By friends who knew my art
Of taking gardens just like yours
And giving a new start.”

“What will you do with mine?” said I.
“What give you in return?”
“The fruits of my labor.” He said,
“More seed, more beauty
than you could ever earn.”

“What are you saying dear man, kind Sir?
A garden is meant to grow?
What else can you tell me?
What more do I need to know?”

He sat with me then and told me the plans
His Father had given Him
For gardens that flourish, reflecting His care—
Knowing and touching each stem.

F. R. January 1993


People and Possibilities

Behind every person is a possibility. As I thought of writing this article three people came to mind; all are young men, each in his twenties.

Jerad is dying of brain cancer. Don will soon graduate from college with a degree in History. Darren is married, and needs a full-time job. images Neither of these seems to have a lot going for them at the moment; but let’s look past them to think of the possibilities.

Jerad has been given two weeks at the most. What can he do? With his own will and working he can do nothing. He has had to relinquish everything to others for his care. His only hope and possibility is for a miracle healing; or, at his death to “forever be with the Lord.”  The apostle Paul spoke of his possibilities; “to live is Christ; but to die is gain.” He had learned to be content in whatever his condition. Jerad is fighting to live.  This is natural. He sees no other possibilities. He cannot pray for anything beyond what he can understand. Others are praying, but only for what they can wish for this young man.  The possibilities for Jerad are in God’s hands.

Don loves the Lord and history and can speak of what he knows, but it is difficult to understand him. He thinks faster that his tongue can articulate. If you listen carefully you can catch the gist of what he is saying, but we must take the time to hear him. He has never been able to get a job; and when he graduates this year with a major in History he does not yet know the possibilities for sharing all that he has with those who need it. He writes well; so that might be a possibility.  Another possibility is speech therapy.  But, we  pray and wait for the Lord to show us His plans for this gifted young man.

Darren is a strong, industrious young man, knowledgeable and confident in his own abilities, which he diligently puts to work at every opportunity. His last employer said that he needed people skills.  Like most of us he shares what he knows,  and believes, sometimes when they are not asked for.  This not being part of the job description as an employee, volunteering our expertise can sometimes get us into trouble. I can relate and so, pray and look with great expectation for the Lord’s working in this young man’s life.

God’s Sovereignty
I believe God stands behind all his creation, especially those He has created in His image.  I don’t mean that everybody will turn out well and accomplish great things, but that God has His purpose.  Some will barely make it in this life; some not at all.  But believing in God’s sovereignty we need to see each person with eyes of faith; not in the person, but in God who created them, and sustains them.  We may only see the person, his condition, mistakes and failures. We cannot see what God is doing in the heart, or His future plans for others. We misjudge when we form our opinions before He is through with us all. We misjudge ourselves as God’s children when we use our tongues against others; even though what we see and say may, at the present, be true.

The Love of Christ
Christ has so loved us that He suffered and sacrificed His life for our sins and shortcomings.  
Our work and life in Christ is to love others, pray for them and encourage them in spite of their idiosyncrasies, their faults and weaknesses.  It would be good to take some of these under our wings and help them, but not all are willing to accept our help.    It is easier to love and minster to one who is dying, such as Jerad. It may take a whole lifetime to accept and relate to others; but we must continue to look beyond them to Christ, believing that He will show us great and mighty things we have not known.  Jeremiah 33:3

Beyond Every Problem ~ the God of Possibilities
Each of the young men I have mentioned is humbled by his own problem ~ one more than the other two ~ according the severity of his problem.  If either of these three knew each other, I dare say that only one would want to trade places. Each is experiencing his own problem; but they have yet to realize the possibilities beyond themselves. They have yet to know the God who is beyond every problem ~ the God of possibilities.

I have spoken in this article of the impressions that we have of God and others; and how we think about them and respond to them. This applies also, to the impressions that others have of us; and that we have of ourselves. If I had listened to what others thought of me at the age of twenty my possibilities would have been nil.

Someone that I loved said, “She is not worth killing.” What a statement for a young woman to start life with. They were right. I was rotten, “dead in trespasses and sin;” but the possibilities for life and goodness were in God’s plans. This person didn’t know what my heavenly Father had in store for my future. I am still not perfect, but forgiven, and being changed by His grace; and for His glory I pray and look for what He is doing in others and me. The fruit of love, joy and peace are produced in us by His Spirit.

 “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
Mark 18:27

Dear Father, into your hands we commit those who need special care.  Please take them under your wings; and as you continue to bless us, bless them with your Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and lives to know you and love you, too.  Enable them to see Christ; and in Him all that you have planned for them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,”

Ephesians 3:20