All of us have our limitations. Limited time…limited money….limited experience, talents…so, how can we know where our resources are best spent? How can we get the most return on our efforts and eliminate waste of any kind?
God only knows…..
This week I am spending a little time in the garden…Longwood Garden, which is one of the most beautiful and productive botanical gardens in the world. It draws huge crowds throughout the year by sowing its seeds of beauty generously. There is always something blooming; something to feast the eyes upon; something to cultivate the senses…..something to experience, no matter the time of year.
I have very fond childhood memories of my uncle Leo taking our family for visits and I in turn have honored this by taking many of my own guests to stroll through this vast treasury of God’s abundance…it seems you just never know the seeds you are planting.
God only knows…
And so, in looking at just a little of the history of this “good soil” I am inspired by its making and the irony of how what started as a Quaker farm, in time, passed into the hands of a family who had amassed their fortune through the production of gunpowder. This family business grew into one of the largest providers of ammunition needed to feed the war machine of WWI. This wealth from destruction became the generator for this sumptuous “Garden of Eden”.
God only knows….
Interesting to hear how Pierre S. du Pont, who had no previous attraction to gardening, simply heard one day that “Pierce’s Park” then just an eye catching grove of trees and a popular destination for the growing pastime of Sunday drives, was to be cut down and sold to the lumber yards. This news pricked his heart and motivated him to save and later create his life work of Longwood Gardens.
God only knows….
Inspired by visiting various World’s Fairs, Pierre S. du Pont would invest 25.5 million dollars during his life and 300 million after his death in endowment for the up keep of this public space. His directive was:
“All visitors should take pleasure in going over the grounds and that they should have the maxim of liberty, consistent with the use of the place by himself and friends.”
Read The Powder Maker’s Garden: American Heritage Magazine
Think now, if you will, of that famous farmer in Jesus’s parable of the sower:
“A Farmer went out to sow his seed. As he scattered the seed”….[some]…”fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop a hundred times more than was sown.” Luke 8: 5-8 emphasis added
My thought this week is simply a reminder:
It is not for us to decide the nature of the soil. It is only for us to scatter God’s seeds of love, generously. Try as we might to aim ourselves at the right people, the right situations, the right ideas, we are always going to be limited in our abilities and it is only God who knows and provides the outcome.
So we must focus our attention only on the scattering, knowing with confidence the lovely unpredictability of those seeds that bounce into the hard cracks and sprout into growth when rain gently falls into their crevices to produce a flower that will bloom.
Only God knows…
Dear Lord as we come before you this day we thank you for the infinite variety of the garden you have planted within us and we ask that you grant us the generosity of spirit to sow seeds of kindness; seeds of hope; seeds of love wherever we go. Help us to trust that you will make our garden grow.
Leonard Bernstein’s Make Our Garden Grow from Candide
If you’ll notice, it is very cool how the music will build to the big climatic moment and the orchestra drops out to let the voices hang in the air all on their own before the mighty brass and percussion rejoin to bring the song across the finishing line:))
God only knows….
P.S. Here is the link for Longwood Garden’s page that tells you what is in bloom each week of the year…love that!