At the retreat of our Sigdor Group last week Edie Dwan share with us these excellent thoughts on evangelism and gardening. Thought you might enjoy it!
Evangelism and Gardening
Jesus made the analogy that evangelism is like gardening, and it is. I read an article recently in the NYTimes on gardening which quoted from the work and musings of Craig Chalquist of John F. Kennedy University. It seemed to me that he was also speaking about the spiritual work that we do in people’s lives. These are lessons learned from working in gardens both actual and spiritual. Some of this might apply to the garden of your own soul, and some might be the garden of your ministry.
1. Abandon perfectionism. The garden is never perfect. Step back and look at the big picture. Or bend close and look a one perfect blossom. But stop focusing on the weeds, the wilting plant, the black spot on the roses. Gardening is messy.
2. Things take time to grow. In nature, there are no deadlines and you can’t rush things. They grow in their own time and according to the way God has ordained it. Give it time
3. Detach from outcomes. Sometimes you plant seeds and nothing comes up. Sometimes a plant just keels over and dies for no good reason. Sometimes things get eaten by pests. Sometimes things grow beautifully. Your effort may or may not be rewarded. Keep on sowing seeds.
4. Things decay and die. The garden teaches that some things need to go away. Many times these dying things become compost for the next stage. What is dying in your life right now? What needs to go away so that something new can come?
5. Nature has multiple ways of doing things. When there are not enough bees to pollinate, wasps, moths and other creatures pick up the slack. We are part of a larger body of Christians who are sowing the Word and being the Light of Jesus in this world. It doesn’t all depend on you. God is bigger than our failings. I used to worry about presenting all the gospel perfectly each time… now I realize that sometimes we just give people a piece of it, and then another time another piece, but that God is not in a hurry.