My wife, Martie, and I had the privilege of traveling to England. While we were there, we visited Hampton Court—the home of King Henry VIII. The first thing we noticed was the beautiful gardens. As an amateur gardener myself, I marveled at the lush green lawns and the perfectly manicured trees, shrubs, and the vibrancy of the flowers. Standing in the middle of all that, I couldn’t help but think back several hundred years to the gardener who designed and maintained this immaculate spread of beauty for the honor of the king. Under the authority of King Henry, he managed the garden for one purpose—to bring pleasure to the king and to create beauty that would bring the king honor and glory in the eyes of every guest who was entertained at Hampton Court.
Connect the dots. The gardener for King Henry and the follower of Christ have something in common—except for the fact that our King is the King of kings! We have been chosen to manage the “gardens” of our lives in ways that bring pleasure and glory to our King, Jesus. I can’t help but think of the shame and displeasure it would have brought to King Henry if his gardener had slacked off, leaving the gardens weed-infested and overgrown when the king entertained important guests at Hampton Court. He wouldn’t have been gardener for long if that had been the case. How much more important it is for us to keep our lives free of the stuff that brings shame and damage to the reputation of Jesus. As gardeners of God’s garden in our lives, how important it is for us to be constantly vigilant to keep the weeds out and to prune the creepy things so they don’t take over and spoil the beauty. We all know what the weeds and creepy things are in our lives. So the issue is not ignorance on what to pull out and cut back, but rather diligence in taking the necessary steps to eliminate the damaging elements and to enhance the good and beautiful things so that we keep our lives looking good for the King!
And speaking of gardening, if you are looking for a good garden manual that delineates what to keep out and what should flourish, then Paul’s words to the Galatian Christians is a great place to start. In Galatians 5:16-24, he states that the weeds of the flesh are things like sexual immorality, idolatry, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, envy, and drunkenness! By contrast, he goes on to say that the fruit—or in this case the beautiful flowers—of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
People pass by the garden of your life every day—all kinds of people—so take a good look at your garden. Is it a source of shame or of glory to your King?
Keep the weeds pulled, prune the creepy things, and let the garden of your life grow to His glory.
- Write down a list of the major weeds and creepy things that you have permitted to go unchecked in the garden of your life. Make a plan to weed them out and to replace them with actions and attitudes that reflect the beauty and glory of your King.
- Share your new gardening plan with a friend who will inspect your garden now and then to see how you are doing.
- The Hampton Court Gardens have lasted for centuries. What would you like your children and grandchildren to remember about the garden of your life long after you are gone? What should you pull out to guarantee a positive legacy for Christ?