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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Garden (09/07/06)

TITLE: A Keeper
By Bonnie Derksen


The Master surveyed the plethora of gardens before Him, each unique and precious in His sight. He loved and delighted in each one, hovering over them like a canopy. These gardens spanned history, like a patchwork quilt.

A keeper was assigned to each garden and given freedom to tend it as they wished. All began with soil void of Truth, so the Master sent His Spirit to woo the keepers, drawing their attention to Him. He was the initiator, both of the gardens and relationship with the keepers. He longed for intimacy with each and every one. And so His Son had laid aside His glory in the Heavens and became a keeper Himself. He showed the way for all gardens to be grown as the Master Gardener had designed and planned.

There were many keepers who followed the Son’s example and now tended gardens of soft, malleable soil. In the Master’s hands, these plots produced a great harvest, benefiting all bordering gardens. As each keeper planted the seed of Truth followed by seeds of the Master’s character, the produce was abundant and plentiful. The soil balanced, seeds grew to maturity, and the multiplication of life was witnessed over and over.

The Master Gardener’s gaze settled on one such bounteous and fruitful garden. Each garden had duration, a life span known only to Him. By His design and plan, this garden was now complete, and its tender was brought home to the Master. In the minds of the keepers whose land bordered this garden, its relocation was shocking. The sudden reassignment of one so loved resulted in unimaginable pain and heartache. Yet they knew the Master Gardener’s great purposes would be fulfilled.

This keeper had managed his garden well, surrendering the soil to His Master’s use early in life. The harvest taken from his land over the years would span generations. All garden keepers who had come across his land were forever impacted and blessed.

The Master, known also as a Comforter and Healer, attended the fresh wounds of those left stunned in disbelief. He listened to their cries and compassionately reached to their very hearts, stabilizing even while they didn’t recognize His hand.

Their heart-rending wails were heard throughout the lands:

“No! It can’t be. Not my husband…”

“My Dad… I can’t go on without him.”

“Why? There were so many good things he was involved in. So much more to do…”

Countless keepers would be affected, by the unexpected closing of this garden, now and in days to come. They could not have imagined its duration had been reached, and wondered how their gardens would grow without his in their midst.

They would, however, press on. If there was one legacy this keeper had left, it was the practice of leaning on the steadiness of the Master Gardener. Indeed, He was their source of life. And so the work in their gardens would continue, and in fact, was continuing, even in the midst of this tragedy.

As sure as the sun rose and set each day, the Master Gardener was committed to them. He would ensure that their gardens benefited from what the world perceived only as tragedy.


With unveiled eye, the keeper stood before His Creator and Father. He had not known his garden was to be relocated. Now he looked into the very face of the One whom he had faithfully and diligently tended it for. He had always lived and moved with the knowledge that he was only the steward and now he stood unashamed and confident before the Owner of his land.

With strong hands capable of carrying creation, the Master Gardener reached out and pulled this dear keeper into a mighty embrace.

“Well, done my son. You have been a faithful servant, tending the garden of your heart with great care and attention. Come into your reward.”

And as the keeper looked into the eyes of his Master he was suddenly changed, becoming like the One he worshipped and adored.


Written as a tribute to a well-tended, well-lived life. Friend, Dave Petrescue, taken from the midst of those who love him and promoted to his Heavenly home, September 5, 2006.

“To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Val Clark09/15/06
I wondered as I read this if you had a particular 'keeper' in mind. An encouraging piece to both write and read. I love the way you developed the analogy of the child of God as keeper of the garden of his/her heart.
Rhonda Clark09/15/06
I like your take on life. How we are the keepers of the gardens for God.
Joanne Sher 09/17/06
What a wonderful tribute - incredible job of extending that metaphor throughout. I enjoyed this!
Beth Muehlhausen09/19/06
Very touching, and a warm tribute to the memory of a loved one. It's obvioius this was heart-felt and the writer invested his own heart in the analogy.

Just a couple of very teeny suggestions, which may not even be grammatical but they caused me to pause in the midst of reading:

"A keeper was assigned to each garden and given freedom to tend it as they wished." I'd like to see "they" become "he/she" to keep the singular form.

"And so His Son had laid aside His glory in the Heavens and became a keeper Himself." I'd like to see it either "had laid" and "had become" or "laid" and "became" - again continuity.

This is my favorite line: "The soil balanced, seeds grew to maturity, and the multiplication of life was witnessed over and over." Don't we all hope for that to be our legacy!
Melanie Kerr 09/20/06
I loved the end section – the reaction of the keeper to being home with the master gardener. – “becoming like the one we worship and adore”! I had to read through it a couple of times to catch on to your comparison.