Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Philippians 4:18 – 19 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
We must not give up hope that all people have a desire to know that they please God. For most people, that desire has been crushed and buried under a load of socially fertilized dirt, so what is visible growing in their lives are the plants and trees of fleshly desires and self-serving motivations.
But in the fall and winter seasons of life, when the leaves have fallen off their trees and they sit in the barrenness of their garden searching their soul for the true meaning of life, they discover a place where life seems to make sense. They start digging down through the years of dirt that they have piled onto themselves by their sinful choices. When they reach what appears to be the bottom they discover a packet of seeds called Truth waiting to be planted. Looking around, they find that they are in a new garden that has already been prepared by Someone. The soil is rich and fertile and there is plenty of water. The light appears brighter than any sun they have seen before.
There is a Man standing in the garden who appears to be the Gardener. He instructs them to pick up the seeds of Truth and by faith plant them in the soil He has prepared. When they do, the Gardener begins to water them and they immediately begin to grow. The Gardener instructs them to let Him do all the work in the garden and simply rest from all their work.
A peace that transcends their understanding overwhelms them. As the seeds grow in this newly discovered garden of peace they produce plants and trees that do not lose their leaves nor go dormant after producing a harvest. These plants continue to bloom and produce their fruit year-round, even during seasons of cold and darkness. It seems that the weather and circumstances of life do not affect the growth of the plants and trees. There is always a place of rest and security under the shadow of the Almighty Oak.
Life totally changes for the people who dig deep enough through the dirt of their lives to discover the garden of God. No longer will they allow social fertilizer to be dumped on their soil because they understand it poisons the growth. They have allowed no space in their garden to plant the seeds of sin because they know that the plants and trees produced by sin will choke out the life-giving plants growing there. This would force the Gardener to turn the work over to us, bringing back the long winter seasons of dormancy and drought with no harvest.
People who chose to live under the direction of the Gardener have discovered a wonderful secret in their new garden. Previously, they protected what they thought they had for fear of losing it. They built fences around their gardens to keep others out and kept all they produced for themselves. But in this new garden it seems that the more they harvest and give away, the more they produce. The Gardener has given them the right to take anything they want from the garden so long as it is used to benefit others. As soon as it is harvested and given away the Gardener plants more seed and makes that place more fertile to produce an even bigger harvest. The Gardener is pleased and overjoyed to do manage His garden according to this principle. Out of the abundance of good that now grows they continually harvest gifts of love to be shared with others. This results in the multiplication of plants and trees so that they never lack for anything.
They also find that the more they open their garden to visitors, the healthier and larger their garden becomes. The Gardener expands the size and productivity of the garden to accommodate all the needs of the visitors.
People who live in such a garden introduce every visitor to the Gardener. The visitors are given their own packet of seeds of Truth and shown how to discover their own garden in which to plant them. This pleases the Gardener even more, so more visitors are invited into their garden and more seeds are provided for planting. It seems that the supply of seeds never diminishes, and the Gardener never tires of preparing soil. This motivates the people to not grow weary in well-doing and to continue to invite visitors into their gardens and show them how to plant the seeds.
Life is good in the garden of God. Storms come, but the Almighty Oak still stands. Darkness surrounds the garden at times, but nothing extinguishes the light of the Gardener. Circumstances that would have wiped out crops in the garden of self have no effect on the harvest of righteousness in the garden of God. Storage units that once held barely enough to provide for personal needs are now overflowing with provisions to meet the needs of all who come to the garden for help.
Many who come to visit are still living in the garden of self and can’t make sense of life. The people who have found God’s garden have found the real meaning of life. They love visitors, because they know the Gardener’s greatest joy comes from planting new gardens.