My name is Jan. I am a pastor, husband, father, grandfather and now, I am a gardener. I always told my wife she married the wrong guy if she wanted someone who liked to work in the yard. I just was not that guy. God must have said, “Here, hold my beer!” He’s funny like that. If that bothers you, the thought of God having a beer, don’t worry. It’s just a saying. I imagine he put his coffee aside, rolled up his sleeves, and said, “I’m gonna teach this old man to garden!”
Well, here I am. I am sitting in my garden in the early morning, meditating on the Psalms. A few feet away sits a cardinal, singing in this ever so slight breeze filling the air. He looks at me with inquisitive eyes as he places seed after seed in his beak, enjoying what the gardener has provided. I am the gardener in this little garden, while God is the gardener in my life.
I sit here reading the Psalms, and I can hear God speaking in a still, small voice. No, I am not hearing voices in that way, but God is speaking to my heart through his words. In the very first words of the Psalms, God speaks through David. This moment in the garden fills my soul with God’s wonder.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” ~~ Psalm 1:1-3
So, I sit here thinking, “Lord, I do my best. Your spirit guides me, although I sometimes don’t listen. I’m tryin’, Lord. Thank you for just bein’ here with me.”
I am having this conversation with Jesus about the blessed way in verse one. I am primarily listening. The blessed way is the way of righteousness, living in God’s will. That I know for sure. It is not the simple way, but it is the blessed way.
What is God’s will for us? It is simply to live in relationship with him, our creator, our gardener. It is to live in relationship with Jesus and to pursue and apply his wisdom to everything we face each day. I call this walking with Jesus. Wax on-wax off. You know, like in the movie Karate Kid. I find wonders in the garden of my life, knowing that I am walking and learning with my savior.
As I sit here sipping my coffee, I get this feeling Jesus is looking inquisitively at me. Like that cardinal that was here earlier. I wonder if he has been patiently waiting for me to take this garden he entrusted me with, this garden he blessed me with for over 20 years, a garden I have allowed to become overgrown and choked with weeds, and I wonder if he has been waiting for me to see in this patch of land the wonders I now see beyond my imagination. His wonder has surrounded me all these years, and I think sometimes I have been too busy to notice.
There is a beautiful calm in the garden this morning as the sun comes up. The breeze that floats through the trees echoes with chirps, tweets, and the sounds of the garden. A majestic white bloom, high in the branches of a magnolia tree, seems to welcome the sun. I want to welcome the Son. “Magnolia, you sweet thing, you’re drivin’ me mad—gotta get back to you, you’re the best I ever Had.” These are the lines from a song I sing by JJ Cale, and they seem appropriate right now. I want to be like that magnolia tree planted by the stream of life. I want to yield fruits of sweet blossoms in their season. Wax on, wax off.
There are wonders in the garden of your life. Make sure you take the time to see them.
Thank you for joining me in our little garden. May you live in harmony with God’s creation, may you allow God to nourish your soul, and may you be a faithful gardener in the garden of your life.
~~By Jan Puterbaugh, associate pastor