Spring has sprung where I live.
Aside from dealing with the allergens that tackle my respiratory system, I love getting my container gardening started each spring.
I used to only want to plant vegetables so that there would be a harvest to enjoy. But when my husband and I moved into our current abode, there was simply too much shade for vegetables.
This challenged me to research shade gardening and develop a greater appreciation of ornamental plants.
A couple of years ago, a tree was removed from the backyard, which has enabled more sun on our postage stamp of a yard.
This year a neighbor gifted us with her extra lettuce seedlings, and I already have some sugar snap peas poking up through the dirt. In addition, there is rosemary, sage, parsley, and some lavender that has held on since last year.
I also potted up some pansies and petunias for their joyful colors this growing season.
For the spot that still does not get enough sun for vegetables, I planted some ferns, astilbe, and dicentra.
What does all my gardening talk have to do with God?
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
Who was the first gardener, according to Scripture?
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
At the very beginning, God gave humanity work to do. Specifically, God gave us the responsibility of tending His garden.
God’s garden also provided both pleasant views and food for us.
God saw all of this as good. (Gen 1:31)
Instead of enjoying the amazing bounty of all the other food-bearing trees and choosing obedience, we chose rebellion.
But The Master Gardener God already had a plan in mind to overcome our foolish and short-sighted choices.
God sends Jesus Christ to die an innocent death on our behalf. (Mark 15)
But that was not the only thing God did.
He also raised Christ from the dead. (Mark 16)
After discovering an empty tomb, Mary Magdalene remained beside the tomb weeping and then spoke to two angels. (John 20:1-13)
She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 
Who did Mary Magdalene think Jesus was at first?
Once Mary Magdalene recognized Jesus, what did she call him?
What similarities exist between gardeners and teachers?
Gardeners nurture plants to grow.
Teachers nurture humans to grow.
Before Christ returned to heaven, he gave His disciples the following instructions.
What is the “garden” followers of Christ are to work today?
Last year I invested time with several people groups and individuals to practice two questions.
The first question is, what is God saying to me?
Listening to God’s voice takes practice.
We especially need to familiarize ourselves with the scripture to recognize God’s voice.
Spending time with other disciples further on their faith journey can also help us recognize God’s voice in our lives.
The second question is, what am I going to do about it?
Remember, once God put us in His newly planted garden, He gave us work to do.
Once we have heard God’s voice, our next step is to respond with an action.
This listening and then acting is part of the “gardening” process that God works through us to be light and salt to the world.
Without listening to God and responding, our witness to others will stumble and fail.
If we remain faithful in this “gardening” process, we will get to see and take part in what the disciple John describes in Revelation.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 
How has God nurtured your heart’s “garden” in the past week?
What has Christ taught you that has fostered growth in your faith life in the past day?
May you find pleasure and delight in the “gardening” process in the days and weeks to come!
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