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Our Heavenly Father is a Master Gardener. Since the beginning, He’s been perfectly producing sweet and magnificent things out of dark nothingness. So, to become more like Him, I put my hands in the soil, desiring to produce something delightful like His.
The farming began in raised beds. Excitedly, I cleared and fertilized the soil, dreaming of the possibilities of this garden. Hours of sweat went into my nursery, digging, pulling, turning….and finally the day arrived for the aptly titled “start sale” at my local farmer’s market. One bed would be planted solely with salad greens and the second bed for the more cruciferous seedlings. By the end of the day, I was gleaming over the rows of spinach, kale, chard, and mustard greens.
Over the next few weeks, I continued in the tending to, and even singing over, my little ones. I was very proud of the work until I became aware that the varieties were not all thriving. Greatly concerned, I ran over in my mind the possible problems. Each seedling had been treated with equal care, water, and protection. Why was the chard lagging?
A reply came, as if the Master had put his arm around me and asked, “What is your heart for the chard?”
“I want it to thrive!” I responded with an edge of panic. “I want all the greens to thrive!”
Still feeling within the Lord’s embrace, a peace and understanding came over me as He opened my eyes to the error. I had treated all the seedlings exactly alike. I had assumed that treating them with equal water, nutrients, and attention, that they would thrive uniformly.
“Not so.” the Good Gardener confirmed, “To treat all life identically is not beneficial to the needs of the individual. For My creation to thrive in fruitfulness, I tend to the personal needs of each uniquely, pruning what requires pruning, watering when thirsty, and even thinning when necessary. This is what is meant by being fair... to offer every individual what it requires to reach its potential. Doing so brings me great joy!”
John 15:1-2 highlights this lesson: “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more fruit.”
What a lesson! This word spoken over greens was meant for all life! Its truth applied across all growing entities of the earth, from child rearing to running businesses.
Often struggling to keep things equal, I neglected the specific needs of the one. My “same-same” mentality didn’t serve anyone but me. It was an effort to make things easier...again, for me. What great love and sacrifice the Lord gives us, meeting each person right where they are!
The Gardener’s heart is that each of us bear fruit! It does not tax him that my needs are something unique or large or even repetitive. Had He treated me in life exactly as my siblings, classmates, or neighbors, I would not be thriving nor producing any fruit today. The fairness of God’s love is that it is specific to the objective of producing more and more fruit in each one of us.
To “garden” with a love that is distinctive is liberating and brings great joy! As I move ahead in life, I am released to tend to others in a fresh way, forgetting easy and embracing effective.
An abundant harvest of all kinds of greens from my garden is something good, but even greater will be the sweet fruit from tending to my family and friends with this learned, individualistic touch. It’s something to hope for, as is additional lessons from the Master Gardener!
Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.
She has had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served women in the homeless community.
Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young women.
Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.
Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children.
Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry.
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