Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Mature Garden

Im sure you know the story of the gardener who was toiling in his beautiful garden when a passerby commented, "Isn't it amazing how God can create such beauty?" to which the gardener replied, "Well, you should have seen it when God had it to Himself!"

I say “I'm sure you know this story” because you are the gardener. God had given each of us gifts, skills and character—all need development. And He trusts you enough to leave the gardening to you. We are His co-creators!

If you’re like my kids, who excel in playing musical instruments, you've had people applaud your talent, saying, "You're a natural!" And you think... “I may be a natural ‘NOW’ but it's taken years of practice to become one!”

As a storyteller, I know the hours I have spent and continue to spend working on my stories and my storytelling. I’ve been committed to telling stories for over 20 years. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, suggests 10,000 hours as the magic number needed to become exceptional at your chosen passion. That’s 10 years at about 3 hours a day. And ‘suddenly’ you’re an expert!

Just like a violinist becomes first-chair in the orchestra by practice, performance and persistence — so, a follower of Jesus is shaped by each moment of listening, doing, studying, applying—and repetition. By following Jesus we become like Him, by choice and by tending our garden. You're skill-set within your giftedness is what it is because you have been carefully tending it and God keeps it growing. 

Of all the personal gardening actions (we plant, we reap, we weed, we prune) I think pruning is the hardest. Pruning is saying no to things that are good. Pruning helps good branches grow stronger. Good becomes great. 

There’s nothing wrong with the little branches that get pruned off — except that they were taking sap. We only have so much time, energy and attention. Knowing where you will invest your 10,000 hours is vitally important. And pruning other interests back creates health and maturity — in time. 

So keep gardening!