The Garden of the Lord
of Eden was more than a place of blessing and provision. It was a place of
fellowship. Not only were man's physical and emotional needs provided for
in every way (Gen 2:9, 18), but a spiritual compatibility also existed between
man and his Creator: "... and they heard the voice of the Lord God
walking in the cool of the day."
The garden of Eden was intended primarily for man. It was planted by the Lord (2:8), watered by God (2:6, 10) and any growth that developed was at his hand: "out of the ground made the Lord to grow ..." (2:9). But the responsibility to "dress it and to keep it" rested upon man. (2:5, 15) The Lord will provide us an adequate environment for growth, but it is up to us to make the best use of the resources he places within our reach.
In the Song of Songs, we read of another garden, the garden of the Lord: "I am come into my garden ..." (Song of Songs 5:1) Isaiah 58:11 says, "thou shalt be like a watered garden ..." (cp. Jer 31;12) Other scriptures refer to the people of God as "the planting of the Lord," where pleasant herbs, spices and fruit are being cultivated, purely for the enjoyment of the Husbandman, the Lord Himself. "... for Thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev 4:11; Psa 149:4a; Isa 43:21)
In each of our lives God is working to produce something beautiful to bring praise to his name. He is not manufacturing production-line, carbon-copy "Christs." His garden will not be all roses, or all daisies. Each is beautiful in its own way: the daisy in its simplicity; the rose in its intricate, delicate design. It is not the purpose of God to make us all alike, but to make us all like Jesus.
Like a vineyard (Isa 5:1-7), our relationship with the Lord must be cultivated and worked at. Time must be invested in it, if it is to bear fruit. In the process of our spiritual growth, choices must be made between many "good" things and what is best.
"... they made me the keeper of the vineyards;
Demands will be placed upon us by other (well-meaning) individuals relating to us the "great need" for our services in "other vineyards." One lesson we will have to learn is that there will be times when we will just have to say "no" to some very good and worthwhile causes. Martha was taken up with much serving. But Jesus said that Mary, who "sat at his feet," had chosen the better part." (Luke 10:38-42)
Jesus told his disciples, so busy "coming and going" in their work for him, to "Come ... apart into a desert place, and rest awhile ..." (Mark 6:30, 31)
There will always be things to do, places to go, people to see. But only as we maintain our relationship with the Lord, and tend to that garden of ministry to him, can our lives take on true meaning and bear eternal fruit.
Copyright 1982 Diane S. Dew
'It is not the purpose of God to make us all
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Diane Dew o PO Box 340945 o Milw WI 53234