It is getting quite toasty in these parts, these days. We don’t have daylight savings here, so most people’s days begin rather early. It isn’t uncommon to see people already working hard at their daily tasks, while it is still rather early…..partly to make the most of time before it gets too hot, and because they are most likely going to be awake and up anyway.
Last week I was on my way home from dropping my two oldest boys at school, and I was stopped at a red light at a major intersection. Whilst stopped, I began watching two people in the gardens of a church I was outside of. One of the men was getting on in years. Wearing a broad-rimmed hat, with long, neatly pressed trousers and a short sleeved shirt, and working boots. He looked familiar with his work, and careful and tidy. Let’s call him Mr Neat. Mr Neat was mowing the lawns. Standing reasonably close to where Mr Neat was working, was another man. The gentleman also looked like he was getting on in years, only he looked dishevelled. He was wearing way too many layers for what the temperature called for, he looked like he could have had a nice wee appointment with a barber for both his head hair and his facial hair, and he looked like he rather enjoyed his food, and he just seemed like he was in need of some extra care. Let’s call him Mr Scruffy.
Mr Neat was the one who was doing the bulk of the work. Mr Scruffy was close to him, watching him with ease. There seemed to be a familiarity between the two, but from my simple observations I didn’t get the feeling they were related. I got the feeling that if the two men were related, Mr Neat would have been the type of person to make sure Mr Scruffy wasn’t overdressed. He would have seen that Mr Scruffy had clean hair. You know what I mean?
So anyway…..Mr Neat was doing the lawnmowing, then he finished up the patch he was working on, and as he was doing that, Mr Scruffy opened up a gate, and walked the lawnmower through to a another area, while Mr Neat followed behind him. Mr Scruffy looked pleased as punch. He was helping. I couldn’t hear any dialogue between the two men, I couldn’t see them talking, but there just seemed to be this natural flow between the two, as Mr Neat stepped back and let Mr Scruffy do something that obviously made him very proud, but Mr Neat followed very closely. Ready to correct, help or intervene if needed.
Then my light turned green and the flow of traffic surged forward so I had to leave my observations and carry on my merry way.
But for however long this little vignette took, I was captured by it.
And then I felt the Lord speak to my heart.
In the picture I had just witnessed, Mr Neat represented the Lord. He’s in control, he’s got things sussed. He is the master gardener. He’s tidy and organized, but he has his sleeves rolled up and he’s ready to do business. And I am the Mr Scruffy. I’m messy and uncomfortable in myself – yet God has no trouble with me coming near to Him. I’m overdressed and ill-prepared for come what may, but God doesn’t look twice at that. I’m more than happy to be near the Lord and to sit and watch Him at work, and when I’m ready to take flight, when I’m ready to action upon what I’ve been asked to do, God’s right there, right behind me, ready to intervene if needed, but urging me on, like a proud Daddy watching his baby girl walk for the first time…And you know God really isn’t looking for talent and ability, or presence or a certain personality type – He’s just looking for obedience. If Mr Neat was worried that Mr Scruffy didn’t have the goods to really help, he wouldn’t have let him take over controls of the lawnmower. But he did. He, quite simply believed in him, definitely when others wouldn’t.
What an amazing God we serve…..always at the ready….in charge but let’s us ‘help out’ when we feel we can or should….
And you know what happens when a master gardener is given permission and freedom to do what they do best? When they have ample resources and man power to put into their project? Beauty happens. Significant change happens. Something that was dead, and ugly and lifeless is made attractive and brings joy to many. Imagine what would happen the more we work hand in hand with our Master Gardener……just imagine…..
What a touching scene I witnessed that day, at that red light. I pray that God blesses that Mr Neat in real life, and may Mr Scruffy always find acceptance and love, on those church grounds.