My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

19 September 2005

Gardening

Last night I preached on the end of Proverbs 14 and the beginning of chapter 15, noting how obedience, especially in our speech, works to bring part of the glory days back to fallen humanity. There's a great theme running throughout Scripture of the Garden; life began in a garden, a place where God and man had perfect, unbroken fellowship. Life will end, for those who love Christ, in the the new Garden of Eden, the City of God.

In the meantime, we have opportunity to live here in this place like we will live one day in the garden. That's why Proverbs 15:4 can say that a healing tongue is a tree of life.

There's at least two possible impressions of "garden" you might have. Both can be illustrated from my childhood. Many times when I think of gardening, I think of my parents' large vegetable garden where weed pulling became my unwilling pasttime. (It was a good garden, though.) This is definitely not the impression we are to have of the Biblical theme of being in the Garden of God. Recently, my parents converted that garden into a beautiful flower garden. So when we go and visit these days, we can stand in the garden, look at the flowers, and have a sense of peace and comfort. Now that is what the Biblical ideal of the Garden should make us think of - the peace and rest of strolling through botanical gardens or a forest. It's the peace that reminds us that this world isn't our final home.

We followed that up by noting that when our words are what Christ would have them to be, we bring part of the Garden, part of heaven, here to this fallen world. And this is another place where my parents' can illustrate. Their home is almost constantly open to people; whether from inside or outside the church, if you stick around long enough, they'll be hosting someone for dinner or a party or a Bible study. And because they know how to speak words of gentleness, healing words, people walk away refreshed. Why? Because, even if they don't know it, they've just had a little bit of heaven. If they're Christians, they've just experienced a little bit of home.

3 comments:

Micah & Emily said...

Jared,
Speaking of Gardens and Garden-cities, guy named David Hegeman has a book called 'Plowing in Hope: toward a biblical theology of culture', which blurb on the back says, "Hegemen shows that culture has a particular God-ordained end in view: the development of the earth into a global network of gardens and cities in harmony with nature - a glorious garden-city." Some interesting stuff regarding, like you mentioned, all the references to Gardens, Trees, and big cities, like the New Jerusalem. More stuff found here:
http://thenativetourist.blogspot.com/
Have a good one!

Dad O said...

It's probably no surprise to you but that gift of hospitality was passed down by your grandparents and nurtured by Pastor & Mrs. Eyres. The gardening thing was solely inspiration from Pastor Eyres!

Ellen Olivetti said...

Jared:

I just listened to your sermon on the end of Proverbs 14 and thought you made such a good point about Christians who are looking to legislation and government to heal the sins of our land. We need to be working for those things for sure, yet if we forget that real change comes from changed hearts, our main efforts will be on legislation rather than evangelism and revival.