Gardening in the Kingdom

August 18th 2013

At the 2012 Holy Spirit Conference in St. Paul, MN, I was sitting in gloves,garden,2my seat minding my own business when God’s voice interrupted my thoughts. He said, “So, you thought you were starting a nice, safe women’s ministry to nice, safe women, who act…nice? It’s time to take off those white dress gloves and exchange them for work gloves because your hands are going to get dirty. Put on your garden gloves because I want you to plant seeds and tend the shoots in places outside of the walls of your conferences and meetings.”

 

Discipleship, equipping the saints, corporate prayer, and worship are important activities that should engage each of us. However, if our only contact with others is within the walls of our church, whether it’s a 5,000-member congregation or an eight-person house church, then we’re ignoring those for whom He died.

 

We hear this lot: “The First Commandment—loving God—should be first in our lives.” However, in answering the question, “ What is the foremost commandment?” Jesus didn’t separate loving God from loving others (See Mark 12: 28-31). To put an even finer point on it, we read in I John 4: 20, “…for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannolove God whom he has not seen.”

 

We sing songs with phrases like, “I want to see You,” and most of the time we’re singing it with our eyes closed as we enjoy some one-on-one time with God. We forget that we can literally “see” Him very clearly when we feed the hungry, open our homes to strangers, visit those in hospitals and prisons, etc. (See Matthew 25: 32-46). The following lyric in Les Misérables is so beautifully phrased:  “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

 

Do you want to see God? Then it’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to reach into the soil that surrounds those in your family, neighborhood, and workplace in order to tend those precious lives with His love, grace, good news, and mercy. It’s time to venture outside of our personal sphere of influence to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.

 

Put those garden gloves on your hands, join them with mine, and let’s go out to see God!

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