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Sermon 11/19/06 –
The Gardener – Genesis 2:8

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The Gardener

"The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed" (Genesis 2:8)

When did gardening (and life) become so difficult? I guess it has been that way since the fall of mankind. God did not want life to be easy for us; otherwise we might never turn to Him in our need. So He blessed us by making life difficult. Things can be very hard, but the Lord is our certain help, now and forever. He said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18). Notice He said, “for your sake” (on your behalf). It’s difficult to understand, but the problems in our lives are intended to benefit us. In our frustration, we might FINALLY look to Him.

Recently, we attended a four-hour seminar on gardening. I hoped I might learn something, and I probably did, although the instructor, Mr. Quezaida, who has a bachelor’s degree in subjects related to gardening, gave so much information so fast that I confess it was overwhelming.

The class contained subjects like “Soil Amendment, Grading, Irrigation Systems, Planting, Budgeting” and much more. A four-week class, he informed us, had been crammed into one four-hour session. We found out that nitrogen in the air converts to ammonia, of all things, and then it becomes nitrite and finally nitrate. Only then, in nitrate form, can it be used by the plants in our gardens. “Too much water takes air out of the soil,” the instructor said, which ruined my theory from past years which basically was: The more water the better! And it also explains why a number of plants have struggled and turned yellow under my care!

He spent at least an hour telling us more than I knew about fertilizers, and I needed to hear it because I remember going into places where they sell it and I didn’t know what to buy. Mr. Quezaida told us what the numbers mean on the packages. For instance, the first one of the three is Nitrogen, the second is Phosphorous and the third is Potassium (potash), which is the “N.P.K.” on most bags of fertilizer. “25-7-14” (high nitrogen) might be good for your lawn, but harmful for other plants.

If you get the “N.P.K.,” and in addition, Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur, you’ve probably got it all for most of the plants in your garden. The problem is that one kind of plant needs a certain ratio of those elements, and the one right next to it might die from that dosage. If I can sum up the class, I think the best way to do all this is to hire a good gardener. Not a “mow and blow” guy, as Mr. Quezaida called them, who use lawnmowers to cut down your lawn and then a power blower to fling the clippings away, but someone who understands the science behind what he is doing. My apologies to all you gardeners out there, but after taking Mr. Quezaida’s class, I think our gardens are in need of more help than we thought.

And that’s basically what WE need in life. We need HELP; we need a REAL “Gardener,” One who KNOWS what He is doing! And in that context, have you thought about Genesis 1:11-12? Here’s what it says: “God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’ and it was so… whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Did you see that? God CREATED grass, trees, shrubs, and all the rest, including humanity. He understands nature like we don’t because He INVENTED it. And even more, He merely SPOKE and it all came into existence. And we can see His original intention in creating it all: “It was GOOD!” The frustration we experience from all the death and difficulties in this world was absolutely NOT His first intention for this earth: Life was to be “GOOD” for you and me. But “sin” entered the picture and everything became confused. We don’t know what to do, for even when we try to do it right, circumstances like “thorns and thistles” get in the way.

Mr. Quezaida, the instructor, recommended that when we don’t understand why our leaves turn yellow or have little holes in them, it’s time to break off a sample and take it to a real gardener. Go to a reputable “nursery” and ask them: “What’s wrong?” The instructor gave us the names of a few nurseries that he said would be able to help us. And that’s a good idea. If you’re not an “expert,” and most of us aren’t, you need someone who KNOWS. As all of us know, by the way, there are much worse problems in life than yellow or white leaves on rose bushes. You’ve probably noticed that the “thorns and thistles” God spoke about are not merely in the plant kingdom, but much worse, those words speak of our employment, our marriages, our children, and our very lives!

And often we don’t understand WHAT is involved with our problems. In addition to the outward things of this natural world, there is a much bigger set of circumstances in the universe, summed up by the phrase, “SUPER-natural.” There are beings, good and bad, who affect our lives in ways we don’t understand. Just like we don’t know whether it is insects, bacteria or whatever that makes the little holes and the whiteness on our rose leaves, we don’t know REALLY why we lost that job, that marriage, and we don’t know why the sickness came.

But the Master Gardener does know. Better than a “mow and blow” guy, better than going to a “nursery” where they sell plants; best of all is to go to the One who invented everything in the first place. So often, human advice comes to us in the form of: “Well, you might try (this or that);” suggesting that the advice-giver doesn’t know a lot more than we do. We need to go to the Top, to the One who really KNOWS! Jesus said, “He who abides in Mebears much fruit” (John 15:5). We must go to the Lord, for He knows what we need.

To have fertilizer dumped on our "garden," our life, doesn’t sound so good, except that just the right amount of it provides growth. The proper soil is important. All of us have been in the wrong setting in life, and in Christ, we are taken out of our previous setting and transplanted into just the right “soil” so we might grow. God knows the nutrients and minerals we need, and He will bring us out of darkness into the proper light. He has a plan for you.  In Genesis, God put the “man” in a “garden.” He had a work for him there, one in which there were no “thorns and thistles” at all. God has a "good" plan for your life also, and He who knows you will bring it to pass.

Go to the Master Gardener today. Tell Him about the “thorns and thistles” that trouble you. He has the right solution in mind that will alleviate your situation and bring you peace, along with wholesome productivity – forever. Let’s do it now.

Lord, I entrust myself to you. Life often doesn’t go like I hoped and I need you. Forgive me, Lord.  Fill me with Your Spirit and give me Your peace. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org
www.FridayStudy.org
Ron@FridayStudy.org
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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