A Cup of Cold Water and a Pitcher of OJ
John 20:15(a) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener...
Itís almost that time of year again, time to prune my plants and make room for them indoors and out of the dangers of frost. That usually turns out to be an all day job for me. I have a LOT of plants. This house I live in is so small and thereís hardly space for whatís in here, much less my vast array of foliage. Thatís the hardest part, but not the most time consuming. Getting those plants ready, now that takes time and great care and it can sure get messy sometimes. But I find that Iím quite handy with a spade and other such gardening tools. I learned it from the Master Gardener. :::smile:::
Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
I donít mind a little hard work, as long as I feel at the end of the day that it was worth the effort, that thereís food on my table or someone elseís, that Iím healthier for it, or that Iíve learned something from it. Hard work to simply satisfy the greed or add to the laziness of another, now that I could do without. Iíd like to believe that my efforts make some kind of a positive difference, whether in my own life or anotherís.
Itís a lot easier to do hard work of any kind when we are willing to pay attention, listen to what the Lord wants to teach us in it, and when we can derive small pleasures from each detail. Gardening does that for me, gives me opportunity to grow along with my plants.
When that time comes, Iíll look at each of them and ask myself what they might need before I move them indoors:
Some simply need a soft, lightly soaped cloth to wash away the dust on their leaves; makes it easier for them to breathe and stretch out. Some need to have sun-baked leaves of a harsh Texas summer gently pinched away to make room for healthier ones to grow. Some deeply-rooted plants need to be dug completely up and transplanted into another pot, or separated altogether into more than one pot so their overcrowded roots donít choke themselves to death. Some need to be planted in much deeper pots because they canít grow to their full beauty in such shallow soil. And then there are those, like the Aloe Vera, that grow better in more shallow soil so that their roots are forced outward and they can multiply. And the orange trees, well, they need to be close to one another so that they can pollinate and produce fruit in their season.
As is often typical of such a wonderful, timely God, I was in the middle of writing the last paragraph when there was a knock at the front door. My neighbor asked if Iíd work with her tomorrow, help her get caught up from taking half the day off today. She was hesitant to tell me why she took off, but it was obvious she was very distraught. She finally broke down and told me what had happened. And when I say she ďbroke down,Ē thatís what I mean. What a tough season the summer has been for her.
As she cried her way through the details, she reached over and nervously, maybe even unconsciously, picked the dried leaves off of the ivy sitting on my porch banister. I smiled to myself as the implications presented themselves. I listened compassionately to her cries, her pain and confusion and fears, as she continued to just talk and pinch off dried leaves. Sheíd even spoken of thoughts of giving up and putting herself out of her own misery, but assured me she would not.
In a few moments, when she was done talking about it, and after she finished a phone call she received, I sat with her on the porch step and sat the ivy down between us. ďLookĒ I said, pinching off another dry leaf. ďJust like this plant, itís been a long, hard season for you too. And youíve got a lot of dried up, brittle leaves that need to be broken off so your more tender ones can grow. But wait, look at this!Ē
There was a single shoot, still green, but hanging on by a dried-up thin thread of vine. I saw her there, hanging on by a thin thread. ďThis thing is going to die if it keeps hanging there by that thin thread. So itís got to be broken free from that and placed in soil and watered so that it can keep growing. Youíve got to let go of it, Honey. Hereís a word for you: Some of us water, some of us plant, but itís only God that makes things grow. So take this home with you. Put it over your sink in a glass of water, and let God have at it. You have to let go and trust God to take care of it for you. He will. Heís good that way.Ē
1 Corinthians 3:7-8 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
Now, those may not have been the exact words, word-for-word, but she got the message. She hugged me hard and we exchanged ďI love youĒís. And then, she went home with her little piece of ivy and with my heartfelt prayers.
I look back up at that long paragraph about what each plant might need and wonder where I might fit in this scheme of things. After much thought, I decided that perhaps I fit in many of those situations. But mostly, I think I fit right there in the same pot with my big Schefflera.
Itís not one of those common plants known as Sheffalera that adorn many households and corporate officesí lobbies. See, those are actually Schefflera actinophylla, a down bred version of a much bigger variety of plant. I have an original Schefflera, a huge one that will one day not fit under the low ceilings in this house. Iíll have to get a house with taller ceilings or prune off the top of the plant. I donít really want to cut the top of it off, but Godís will is perfect and, just like with me, if thatís what I have to do, then the pruning will only serve to make the plant grow more lush with new branches. All things, truly, work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Upon closer inspection, though the leaves of my plant look similar to the smaller Schefflera, they are much wider and longer and heavier. The branches hang low. Its roots are firmly grounded, just as are mine in Christ.
However, the trunk of my big plant, near to the soil, has tender, exposed roots growing from it that are terribly in need of soil. They hang there drying, but still very much alive. My plant needs a really big and open space to grow in, a place to grow its roots. What a treat it would be to find a deep enough pot to transplant it into. If I do that, I may have to put it on a slider with wheels just to move it around! But my plant deserves that deeper pot and deeper soil. Itís a beauty.
And as for those orange trees, they STILL arenít producing any fruit. But itís okay. Theyíre young. Theyíll get there eventually if I take good care of them and God continues to make them grow. In the meantime, they grow alongside one another. And one day, one glorious day, if itís Godís will, I am going to enjoy the biggest pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice Iíve ever seen... no added sugar, just naturally sweet and with lots of pulp!
Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Where do you fit today in the gardening scheme of things? What kind of fertilizer or pruning or new pot might you need? Well, the Good News is that we have a Gardener who knows just what we need. And I assure you, His will for us and His gardening skills are far, far better than ours. Trust Him with all your heart and know that He is at work, tending to your roots with the greatest care. He loves us and WANTS us to grow strong and healthy and bear much fruit.
God bless you all! May the Son shine gloriously on you today and fill you to overflow with Living Water.
© Joyce Pool
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A wealth of knowledge and wisdom in this article! You give great gardening tips for our plants and for our soul! Talented you are! And what a great, tender, friend you must be, God has you where he wants you! Keep writing, I am enjoying every one! Love Danette
You certainly planted a lot of seed here, in this devotional. You speak freely of the common every day things and draw a great spiritual lesson from it. I am not a gardener -- my husband was, before he lost his leg -- but I saw the tender care he would give to each plant. I am sure you could draw a great lesson from our yard, should you see it. It once was a beautiful, well cared for yard, each plant placed in organized design. Now it is what I call a jungle. But I love it. I wouldn't know HOW to bring it back to how my husband had it. However, that is not the point. I was blessed by the way you stopped your work to comfort your friend and how you taught her, yourself, and us a wonderful lesson for our hearts. ... Thanks so much for sharing...Helen
Joyce, This is a very refreshing read. I love it. Keep serving for His glory. In Christ, Julia
Treava, Well done - AGAIN! All I can say is that this plant (me) needs a LOT of watering, pruning and even fertilizer but with each season I know my Gardener is working to create something that is pleasing to Him. I keep looking up and soaking up HIS SONLIGHT and I know that is the best way to grow and flourish. Thank you for your inspiring words. You write so beautifully! You can cover any subject and have it come forth as a lovely creation! God is growing something beautiful in you!!!! Love you...Peggy