The Church Is a Garden

Written by Sister Vicki Ali on Tuesday, August 20, 2019. Posted in Devotional

The Church Is a Garden

I am a plant nerd. I inherited a green thumb from my grandma who taught me about houseplants and bought me terrarium kits while I was growing up. I filled my first apartment with plants I propagated and shared with friends. Recently, a co-worker gave me a cute little Pepperomia started from one she'd been growing for a long time from a cutting I gave her over 20 years ago. How cool to think it came back to me — like a plant grandbaby of sorts!

When we bought our first home, my interests expanded to what I could plant outdoors. Going to the nursery every May is my absolute favorite shopping day of the year. My family knows I’ll be gone for hours contemplating my selections and come home with a minivan full of herbs and flowers ready to welcome the season. When everything is in place in the yard and in beautiful containers, it makes me so happy to see the results!

Over the years, I’ve learned which plants thrive in shade and which ones need medium light. Some tolerate drought and all-day sun, so they can be planted in more remote areas of our yard. Others need daily attention and watering, so I keep those closer for easier access. Planting flowers to attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds adds a new level of fun to a garden. Although I have proven go-to plant groupings each year, I like to change things up and try unique combinations too. A trip to our local botanical gardens inspired me this year to plant purple and orange flowers together, which I found simply breathtaking!

My friend, Pinterest, shows me fantastic container garden groupings, which always include a thriller, a filler, and a spiller in the design. Thrillers are taller, more dramatic plants. Fillers and spillers, aptly named, fill out and spill over the container. These plants’ individual growth patterns, textures, shapes and colors blended together create stunning works of art.

I’ve thought about how the Lord, the Master Gardener, arranges and groups His children to form beautiful gardens. He knows our individual strengths and weaknesses and plants us in just the right environment for optimal growth. Those with more vibrant personalities are the thrillers. Some fill out the container (The Church) perfectly and consistently, and some are meant to spill outside the container. Together we are more exquisite than if planted alone. God also knows which unlikely pairings will be most striking together. He knows who can tolerate heat and drought and who needs to be closer to Him for more daily attention.

This summer, we went away for a week, and I entrusted plant care to our daughter. She does not share my garden passion (yet?) but knew the weight of the task at hand — to keep everything looking as good as it did when we left until we got home. I gave her a tour, making sure she noted what needed what, how much, and when. Knowing she is not a morning person and leaves at the crack of dawn for work, I emphasized she had to water heavily at night or the plants wouldn’t make it through a hot day. Once wilted, it’s hard to get them back into good condition. They had to be prepared to get through the day until she got home each evening. I also explained that rain didn’t necessarily get her off the hook for the day. Light rain may only get the leaves wet on the surface. I asked her to check under the leaves even on rainy days to make sure the rain got to the roots, which is key. There were eye rolls, but I was relieved and happy to see she did a great job when we got home.

At GMBA camp this year, our son enjoyed singing songs in Spanish with brothers and sisters from Mexico and other parts of the country. One song in particular, sung by Brother Ozzie from Tennessee, really impacted him. He was so excited to share the song with me and how it tells us that our spiritual lives are delicate flowers that have to be cared for diligently. If they whither, then they won’t revive, and God doesn’t want dead flowers in his garden. This analogy made perfect sense to him and inspired him to not want to neglect the care of his own spiritual life.

At the end of this article, you'll see a video clip of Brother Ozzie singing the song. Following are the lyrics.

Like this song, the scriptures are full of plant-themed counsel, reminding us to be like a “tree planted by waters” (Psalm 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8). Jesus Himself said He is the vine and we are the branches, and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Let’s not allow ourselves to whither, continually seeking His living water to sustain our roots. Allow God to plant us deeply and arrange us as He sees fit, so that when He looks over His work, He will be happy and pleased with the results.

Como las Flores

Como las flores tienen su tiempo

Ahora salen y manana ya no estan

Asi es el hombre en esta vida

Porque sus dias contados van 

Pero el que tiene su vida en Cristo

Su vida nunca dejara de ser

Porque aunque muerta este su carne

Su vida nunca dejara de ser.

Coro:

La vida es una flor muy delicada

Que el hombre cual a Dios

La debe de cuidar

Porque si se marchita

Nunca, nunca revive 

No quiere flores muertas

En su jardin mi Dios.

Bio Vicki New

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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