The Garden - A Modern Day Parable
The kingdom of heaven is like a garden tended by a very caring, very diligent gardener. The garden is quite large, very beautiful and filled with many different kinds and varieties of plants. When you see it from afar, it's a breathtaking sea of color, but up close you notice how different each plant is. The gardener knows just what each plant needs to bring it to its' peak beauty and maturity. He plants each plant in just the spot that pleases him taking into account each one's special soil, sun and growing requirements. He knows there are some plants that truly don't like each other and won't grow well if planted near each other, so he's careful to plant them far apart.
Among the many plants in his garden is the portulaca. The portulaca loves to grow in the heat of the day and will even thrive in very dry soil with lots of sun. She will open her petals and give a glorious display of color, but will close up tight at the first sign of rain, cool weather or a gloomy day.
Impatiens, on the other hand, are extremely thirsty plants, thrive on lots of water and like to be sheltered from the hot sun. They love the shade and cool, moist soil. They even show off beautifully on a rainy day.
Morning glories love to climb high and will wrap themselves around whatever is near for support - a fence, lattice or even another plant. It blooms in the morning and early afternoon hours and is often closed by mid-afternoon. It's a spectacular flower and the gardener doesn't mind that it disappears before day is done. It has no particular soil requirements and will bloom during shady times as well as sunny days.
Pansies are cool weather plants. They thrive best and are at their most beautiful peak in early spring and then again in the fall when the temperature begins to drop. They will wilt and not flower at the intense peak heat of summer.
Cosmos are beautiful, showy flowers and their delicate appearance may at first fool you. They are indeed very hardy plants. They grow tall and reach for the sun. They are easy plants to grow and so very rewarding with minimal care.
Most kinds of mint - peppermint, spearmint, etc - will take over the garden if the gardener is not careful to confine it. It's roots spread in all directions and it just keeps going and going. It seems to thrive anywhere for anybody. It's fragrance is wonderful, flowers small, and is usually more valued for it's leaves.
Lobelia is a very delicate flower and loves the cool weather. The flowers are very small, but such a beautiful vibrant color. She does well in a combination of part shade, part sun, but will often shrivel up under the extreme heat of summer. She responds well to pruning and will probably make another show in late summer or early fall.
These are just a few of the types of flowers the gardener grows in his garden. He knows how to tend his garden to bring each plant to its' greatest growing potential. His loving touch causes each plant to thrive and he delights in the beauty of each individual one and the garden as a whole.
He is always observant and spots problems right away; he recognizes diseases and enemies and treats as necessary so the plants can continue to thrive and grow and bring him great pleasure.
At the end of the day, as the gardener walks through his garden, he takes such delight in the sights and smells of each plant. His garden truly brings him great joy!
The gardener is the Master Gardener - our Lord - and we, the plants, are the work of His hands! Each one of us has special needs and He knows how to meet those needs in such a personal way. He loves and appreciates each "plant" for who He has created it to be. He loves each of us just as we are! He made us just as we are! If God created you to be a pansy, WHY would you want to be a cosmos???? The gardener does not expect the portulaca to look like the impatiens. And He doesn't expect the lobelia to thrive under the same conditions as the morning glories. The joy He receives from each is unique to that particular "plant." He loves each one for the particular attributes each one has.
"...we all are the work of thy hand."
"...for the Lord delighteth in thee."
"The king's daughter is all glorious within...."
"Shout for joy, daughter of Zion; shout Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, daughter of Jerusalem! Jehovah has turned off your judgments; He has turned away your enemy. Jehovah, the King of Israel is in your midst; you shall not fear evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Feat not! Zion, do not let your hands droop. Jehovah your God is mighty in your midst; He will save. He will rejoice over you with joy; He is silent in His love. He rejoices over you with a joyful shout."