Being Good Friday it is only logical to take a look at the Ultimate Gardener. And I’m calling Jesus the ‘Ultimate Gardener’ because if we measured our gardening skills against his, we would all fall far short of his talents.
I know some of you are already thinking I’ve entered ‘wacko’ stage – Jesus wasn’t a gardener! If anything we might get some carpentry tidbits from the Messiah but gardening, now there’s another dimension. But, like all people in the spotlight these days, they all seem to have multi-facets. Take Jamie Oliver for example. TV Chef, restaurateur, writer, saviour of healthy school lunches etcetera, etcetera. He is now a gardening expert as well.
Fortunately, Jesus’ skills didn’t come because of his celebrity status. He had those very early on. If you’re trying hard to follow me then stick around and I’ll share some examples of his gardening acumen.
It all started in a garden
Firstly, if you ascribe to the Creation theory, of which I am a proponent, then you will notice that life on earth started in a garden. For those who like to go back to grass-roots gardening then doing it in the buff is certainly not as unnatural as one might think.
In God’s first piece of gardening advice he told the man and woman to;
“…fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen 1:28b [NIV]
As gardeners we all know that this is our greatest challenge – subduing the earth. Leave it unattended for a week or two and you will notice how well you’re going with subduing nature!
Fertilising and Planting Tips
We all know that no gardener is worth their ‘salt’ unless of course they can tend plants well. Anyone can stick a plant in the ground, but it’s a gardener who can help it grow. Here’s Jesus’ gardening tips on planting fig trees;
Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”
Luke 13:6-9 [NLT]
Removing Problem Plants
It’s one thing to give a plant a second chance – quite another to know when it is time to remove the darned thing. Jesus timing was always impeccable. I’m far too merciful with my plants hoping that they might just come good one day. Jesus realised that some plants weren’t worth their time in the garden and he dealt with them swiftly.
In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, He was hungry, and He noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.
Mat 21:18-19 [NLT]
Quicker than trying to dig it up and mulch it!
He took time to smell the roses
Gardeners can sometimes get all worked up about their gardens that they often forget to take time and enjoy the fruits of their labour. Jesus understood the value of gardens, plants and flowers and extolled their virtues whenever he could. Take this tidbit he shared at a conference for a few thousand people;
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing?
Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
Mat 6:27-30 [NLT]
He gave credit to the REAL gardeners
Only sometimes will a gardener thank, or even attribute their gardening acumen, to those who have come before. Jesus knew the pecking order and often pointed upwards when asked of his tutelage. Here’s an example;
“I am the true grapevine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.
Joh 15:1-4 [NLT]
More gardening tips with Jesus
This isn’t where it ends. Jesus was a font of gardening knowledge and had many things to share. Take these for example;
- He knew how to compost – Luke 14:35 [NLT] Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”
- He understood plant location – Mat 13:8 [NLT] Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
- How seeds grow – John 12:24 [NLT] I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.
- And even allotment gardening – John 4:38 [NLT] I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”
Jesus was the complete package – the Ultimate Gardener. If you haven’t got his latest gardening book (aff.) then you might want to begin sourcing the best gardening tips EVER!