Are you a good gardener?
Well, the afternoon heat hasn’t let up one bit; in fact the temperature seems to creep up ever so slightly each day. The trees are beginning to suffer in the heat and for the lack of rain, culminating in a stress that produces leaf shedding. My yard looks like the beginning of autumn with all the leaves on the ground and porch deck. I put out the water sprinkler a couple of evenings over the past week in an attempt to not lose my grass again, as was the case during our recent drought. Of course that makes the grass grow, so, this morning while drinking coffee I mustered up the want-to determination to mow it before it gets too hot. I opened the door to pull out the mower and it started raining! You’ve got to be kidding, right? No, it poured down rain for about 15 minutes. Talk about letting the air out of your balloon. Oh well, there’s always another day.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have the circus in house again this weekend: We’re dog sitting. It’s like we have an only child and her two cousins come to visit, one male and one female. They’ve been raised differently; all three have different personalities and have their ways, of which some are hard to figure out. We’re not used to a nasty boy who likes to hike his leg up on everything, but he’s learning what’s permissible, where and when. The three of them get along well, even around the food bowl, with the older female teaching the youngsters with an occasional growl and snap of the jaw.
There is a lovely villa on the shores of beautiful Lake Como in the Italian Alps. While sightseeing the area, some tourists complimented an old gardener who had been maintaining a certain grounds for years. “The owner must come here frequently,” one man said as he looked out over the manicured lawns and flowering bushes. “No, no,” the gardener replied. “The owner has been here only once in 15 years, and even then, I didn’t see him at all.” “But how do you get your orders and pay?” the tourists inquired. “How do you know what to do?” “From the owner’s agent who lives in Milan,” the gardener replied. “Ah, he must go there often then?” “Not too often,” the gardener said. “Perhaps once a year or so.” The tourists were amazed. “You have no one to supervise your work, and the grounds are as neat as if you expect the owner to come back tomorrow,” exclaimed one lady, so impressed with the beauty of the grounds. The old gardener firmly replied, “Today, ma’am! Not tomorrow, but today!”
[Luke 12: 35-48; Philippians 2: 12-16] The gardener was faithful to his trust, was he not? He wanted to be ready lest the owner arrive and catch him unprepared. So too, we want to live faithfully every day, as though the Lord Jesus might drop in for a visit. Would He find us a faithful steward? Would He say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant”? (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19: 11-27) In John 15:1-2, Jesus says, “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jesus explains that to remain fruitful we must be in Him and to be in Him we must be in God’s Word (John 1:14), because, “... apart from me you can do nothing” (v.5). The Father is the gardener of the Kingdom, the church. As individuals, we are the gardener of our own lives keeping the weeds (sins) of the world out and maintaining a good healthy lifestyle, living in Christ (on the vine); pruned (corrected) by God now and then; fruitful (saving souls); and glorifying God. Are your grounds manicured well?
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
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