The Gardener

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  July 19, 2014

            The man had worked painstakingly to cultivate the garden in all its abundance. The soil meticulously tilled, the furrows precisely developed, the irrigation was ideal and the fertile soil was now brimming with life. Not all the life in this beautiful garden was wanted.
            This man, who devoted his life to working for the Gardener, first noticed the incursion of the noxious weeds and was absolutely dismayed. Clearly, this bounteous tribute to the Gardener was too important for those weeds to have worked themselves into the bounty of produce and he knew something must be done—and done fast.
             He was devoted to the Gardener and would do anything to please the one who gave so much purpose to his life. When the man first came to know the Gardener, he was destitute and alone. His life’s story revealed the agony and despair that comes from a life out of balance and it was the Gardener that showed him how to live. The Gardener taught him love and serve. The Gardener gave him the support he needed to clean up his life and turn himself around. Truly, there was no way he was going to allow those unwanted weeds to usurp the Gardener’s name or corrupt the good things that were supposed to be growing in that amazing garden.
                 The man was particularly resentful because he knew the enemy of the Gardener was at fault. Right or wrong, the Gardener’s anger at the enemy for corrupting his beautiful garden. It was, after all, a botanical masterpiece he had painstakingly planted in his devoted and loving service to the Gardener. As he prepared to unleash his angry vengeance upon the unwelcomed weeds in his garden, his righteous fury at the enemy for this assault on his garden fueled his sense of destructive rage. He was not content with simply cutting back those weeds. He was intent to honor his beloved Gardener by ripping them out by the root. He just knew the Gardener would be proud of his proactive attack on those things that so corrupted that garden.
It was then that the Gardener came to see the man’s beautiful garden. Honestly, the man was not too happy at first. He had secretly hoped the Gardener would not see the garden until he had cleansed it of the awful invaders, but now that the Gardener was here, the man’s sense of righteous anger was fueled even more. Now the Gardener would see the purity and determination of this man’s devotion. He knew that the Gardener would be proud!
                 Yet, the Gardener called out for him to stop immediately. This is not what the man was expecting. After all, surely the Gardener knew how vile those weeds were. The Gardener reached down and dug around the roots of those weeds. Noting how the intricate root system was interlaced with the roots of the desired plants in the garden, the Gardener showed his loyal servant how the effort to uproot that which was not wanted would ultimately destroy everything that was desired. In his zeal to maintain a pure and undefiled garden, the man who sought only to serve the Gardener nearly destroyed the Gardener’s precious garden.
                  The Gardener never scolded or shamed the man. He was corrected with the Gardener’s love and grace. Later, as the man reflected on this loving teaching from the Gardener, he realized how many times people make that same mistake. They become so convinced of their own righteousness and sacred duty to carry out desired purging and purifying, that they fail to see intricately tied aspects. Instead of purging the presumed evil, they unwittingly unleash a greater evil—a totally destructive evil—on the very thing they wish to save. In their zeal, they destroy everything. He realized that when it comes to the things we love and serve the most vigilantly, there is a little bit of himself in all of us.