Church of England Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham Arnold

God - The Master Gardener

24 Jun 2020, noon

Sylvia Griffiths Writes

I moved into my last vicarage in the October of that year, with 3 weeks to sort myself out before I began my new job. Those weeks were hectic! There were boxes to unpack, cupboards and drawers to organise – and then reorganise when I found better places to put things, furniture to arrange, utilities to change, insurances to inform and friends to tell of my new address, phone number and email. Then there was the Installation Service to organise, church people to meet, stories to hear of the history of the church and so on. Every day was full.

As it was October and I was so busy, I made a decision that I would leave the vicarage garden for the time being. I thought that little would grow in the winter and so I could safely wait until spring to see what came up. What a mistake! I remember getting up one morning some months later and opening the curtains to see a garden full of dandelions, blowing in the breeze. It seemed that they had not only comfortably bedded themselves in, but invited all their friends and family to join them! I was sure that they were not there the day before! The result of my negligence was that I had a back-breaking, time consuming and almost impossible job that summer.

I am not sure of the official way of deciding whether something is a weed or a flower, though I know there are those who would suggest that a weed is just a flower in the wrong place. But there are a number of things I have discovered about weeds. The first is that some of them, like the dandelion, have very long roots. You never seem to be able to dig deep enough to get the whole root out and if any is left behind, however small, it will not be long before a new dandelion is back in its place. The second is that weeds have a habit of planting themselves right beside your best plants, entangling their roots around the plant you want to keep and so making it almost impossible to remove. The third is that weeds seem to grow and spread more quickly than any flower in the garden, squeezing out anything that stands in their way.

I wonder if that is also true of our lives? I suspect that most of us are conscious that we are a mixture of the good things that God has done in us and the bad habits we now just accept as normal. Like weeds, we are on dangerous ground if we allow these negative things to grow and to flourish. They will all too soon take such deep root that they are almost impossible to pull out, or they will spread so far and fast, that the good in us is strangled and lost.

I believe though that there is hope! I believe that we have a God who is the master-gardener of our lives and who specialises in weed-control! He wants us to be more like his Son, Jesus Christ and delights in producing a rich harvest of good things in us. But it can only happen if we allow him to work on the weeds. He needs our permission, our co-operation and our agreement to do so. He doesn't promise it will be easy because some of the weeds in our lives have very long roots! But like the very best of master-gardeners, he knows the best way to deal with each individual plant in his garden.

Why not spend some time over the next few weeks, asking God to show you both the good things in your life and the weeds. Why not ask him to begin the process of rooting out all that spoils the beautiful and unique garden which God is creating in you.

Sylvia Griffiths