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Our Gardening God

“And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” Genesis 2:9


Have you ever thought about the way God introduces himself to us in the opening pages of Genesis? Yes, He is an all-powerful Creator, but He’s a gardening Creator. Have you ever pictured God as a Gardener?

The first thing we see God doing is creating life and fruitfulness from what was formless and void. He plants a mind-blowingly beautiful garden. He then creates humanity (from the dirt no less) in His own likeness, and commissions them to do the same kind of work He does, tending to and expanding the garden.

But we don’t see these themes end in Genesis, God continues his work of tending to the world as a Gardener. God did not just create and then leave the world, he is still intimately involved in its care and upholds every molecule moment by moment. The Psalms talk about how he plants, waters, provides food for the animals, and uproots. He describes himself in other passages as a vineyard keeper, pruning branches and tending to his vineyard. Jesus Himself started and ended his greatest redemptive work in a garden, starting in the garden of Gethsemane and ending in the garden outside His tomb, undoing the harm the first Adam did in a garden. The women who first saw him even mistook Him for the gardener! God as a gardener is a theme we see woven all throughout the pages of scripture.

The fact that God is a gardener says something significant about who He is at His core, and therefore, how we can relate to Him. His character is one of beauty not ugliness, creativity not stagnation, life not death, cultivation not destruction, one of building not tearing down. He is patient, nurturing, intimately involved with the material world, he takes joy in what he grows, gardening takes constant care and tending, something you have to be commited to for the long haul. That is the character of our God.

So what does it mean that you and I and the person next to you in the coffee shop is made in the image of this Gardener God? Well, it means that our creativity always stems from the image of God imprinted on us. This can both encourage and humble us - humble us, because we are not the fount of such wonder, and encourage us, because a limitless God means we will never run out of creative possibilities!


This gardening God made you for the express purpose of cultivating the world, bringing order from chaos and beauty from rawness. To cultivate means to: grow, nurture, break up ground, prepare, improve, encourage, foster growth, refine, enrich, develop, and pay attention to. So no matter how you do those things, and no matter how insignificant your work may seem to others (and even yourself!) God finds it so deeply pleasing and important. History itself will end in a Garden City, a perfectly harmonious blending of God’s natural creation and mankind’s creative efforts. How significant that our work is honored by God and will last into eternity!

As beautiful as this is, there is a fly in the ointment, isn’t there? We are very imperfect gardeners. And that’s why it is good news that the Master Gardener is tending to us as His beloved vines. He carefully prunes what is unhelpful and cultivates what is fruitful. We are the vine and He is the Vinedresser. He is gardening the soil of our souls. Ultimately, while we do work hard, it is His efforts behind ours that matter, and we can rest in that assurance. We may plant and we may water, but it is God who causes the growth.

My fellow creatives, Jesus is the ultimate Creative. Don’t let the world’s “never enough” standards of perfectionism crush your creativity. You were made to be an imperfect gardener whose imperfect but beautiful work points to the Master Gardener. And our gardening God sees every tiny act of faithfulness, and He honors and delights in it. You don’t have to be perfect because Jesus has already done that.


Just get your hands in the dirt.



 

My dear friend Grace Strawn over at Ginger & Pearl Jewelry (https://gingerandpearljewelry.com) is collaborating with me to bring you this GORGEOUS ring!


Stamped with flowers to remind us of the biblical theme of our Gardener God, this ring, ever present on our creative hands, will point us back to the one who gave us our creativity and whose beauty and orderliness we image when we work.


If you'd like to get a link texted to you when the ring is released on Monday, text RING to (984) 217-8225 to get a text notification and special coupon when it drops!




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