Tending The Friendship Garden

June 28, 2002
by Margaret Vanderzweerde

2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. (NIV)

The Niagara Parks Commission Horticultural Garden complex is one of my most favourite places to visit. Recently, I went for a walk, and, as I walked the garden paths, I became keenly aware of the planning, mending, and tending that is necessary to maintain gardens such as this one.

In my mind's eye, I could see the men and women, the students of the horticultural school, bending, first over drawing boards, planning the layout, and then over the flowerbeds, cleaning, planting, weeding, arranging, and re-arranging, as well as cleaning out the undesirable weeds that inevitably crop up. I believe that they must be eternal optimists, working hard, and believing with all their heart that what has been planted will grow and that each in its kind will be beautiful.

Isn't that what our "friendship garden" is like? Each of us, in our own circle of friends and acquaintances, has the opportunity to tend our friendship garden, with the hardest work being done on our knees, in prayer.

If we neglect that friendship garden, the weeds will invade, pests will infest, and our garden will lose its beauty. It will still be there, but certainly not in the condition we would like to have it, nor as beautiful as it could be. Neglected in the summer of our life, the paths may become overgrown in autumn, when we desperately need the comfort of the garden.

God calls us into relationships and the sharing of the love that He so freely gives. Let's begin especially to tend those flowers in the garden that have been neglected in the past. Let's look at our church family and try to see it as God's garden, which He intends to bloom to His glory, and for which our caring and sharing gardening duties are required.

Prayer: Master Gardener, teach us how to tend the garden at our feet, cultivating our friends with prayer, knowing that we will reap what we have sown. Amen.

About the author:

Margaret Vanderzweerde
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

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