God’s Gardeners

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.”
~Proverbs 11:25

When I had to stop work due to a brain injury, I planted a flower garden. It wasn’t my idea, actually. God nudged me out into the yard, insisting that I become a gardener. Every morning I tugged on my overalls and hobbled outside to see what needed tending to. Taking care of the flowers gave me a purpose. It took me out of my pain and suffering. Service does that, you know. It changes our focus and fills our heart with gladness.

The years I was healing were drought years here in California. It wasn’t always easy to keep plants alive. I had to watch carefully for signs of flagging and water before it was too late. What if we all decided to go through life as a gardener and look for ailing people to pour out God’s living waters onto? What if we could water others without judgment? I never questioned if any of my plants “deserved” to be watered. They were withering and needed water, period. Think of the good we could do in the world if we approached everyone as if they were a precious flower in God’s garden.

We would need to tend the garden. We’d need to weed out our hate and fear. We’d need to fertilize with love, kindness, compassion, and patience. We’d need to water everyone. We’d need to see and appreciate every person as a beautiful blossom of God. God will tend to us if we tend to others.

Expanding My Focus

I snapped on Shakespeare’s leash and took him for his last walk of the evening. It was delightfully cold; a winter’s night that made me want to hold someone’s hand. Instead, I held a big flashlight, shining a light for us to walk safely in the dark. I watched the little orb of light bob to and fro just ahead of our steps. Shakespeare busied himself with sniffing every vertical surface he passed. We were almost home when something nudged me to take my eyes off the ground and to look up. The dark sky was dotted with blinking stars.

I stopped and stood for a few moments and stared at the heavens. I thought how often I go through life focused on what’s in front of me, unaware of anything else. Had I not stopped and looked up, I would have missed the beauty of the night sky. What else might I be missing by focusing only on my next few steps? There is a bigger picture to my life that I will miss if I don’t expand my focus. Oftentimes, all I need to do is to pause and to look upwards; pause and look to God!

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