Not the Mistaken Gardener

Jun 23, 2023

June is such a wonderful time of the year for summer gardening in central Oklahoma. This year, we’ve had abundant rainfall, and the temperatures have been agreeable. The herbs look their very best, and the warm-weather vegetables are coming on strong.

It is also one of the busiest times of the year for gardeners. Every day, new situations arise. Things need to be watered, weeded, inspected for bugs, treated for diseases, harvested and preserved.  Depending on how large of an area you manage, it can become overwhelming very quickly. If life gets in the way, and you miss tending to the garden for a day or two, things get out-of-hand in a hurry.

Our garden can be a lot of work, and at times I fret as if the whole garden is left to me. Long before the things are planted, I create lists of what we will grow for each season. I keep records of what we’ve grown in the past and how each variety performed.

I keep track of where we planted everything, so that we can rotate our crops. There are seed starting records, calendars and weather records. Planting season comes. Tending season comes. Harvesting season comes. Preservation season comes. It’s never ending.

As much as I love it, there are times when it just seems like it’s too much. It feels bigger than me, and I allow it to create anxiety. It is in those moments I remember that I have a safety net—my husband. Just when I think there is no way that I can do another thing, he brings in all the reinforcement! The reality is he is ALWAYS there working, too. I am not alone. When I am tired and worn down, he delivers even more.

He is stronger, wiser and is physically able to outwork me. He sees the whole farm not just one row garden or rooster. He has great vision and, at the same time, understands our limits. He’s always there to talk things through and helps me manage everything. He keeps things in balance. When things go wrong, he bears the burden, so that I don’t have to. He cares and is loving.

We each have a specific role, and both are important. As long as he is fulfilling his role and I mine, there is order, harmony and success. In our marriage and on our farm, my position is under the leadership and protection of my husband. It is to be an earthly picture of what a relationship with our Heavenly Father should look like.

The great C. H. Spurgeon once said, “Supposing Him to be the gardener. . .  You know the “Him” to whom we refer, the ever-blessed Son of God, whom Mary Magdalene in our text mistook for the gardener. . . You see it is yours to work under the Lord Jesus; but it is not yours to take the anxiety of His office into your souls as though you were to bear His burdens. The undergardener, the workman in the garden, needs not fret about the whole garden as though it were all left to him.”

Because our Heavenly Father loves us and cares about us, He is a God of order and of roles not of chaos and confusion. This structure is good, and it creates security, peace, rest and success. The world would have us believe that roles are for switching and that rules are for breaking. Its system tells us that we should trust our own feelings, take control and become our own god – little “g.”

God tells us that from the beginning He was and is and is to come! He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is in full control, and He loves us. We are to trust Him and His word. And we are to seek His help, so that we live out our role. Jesus was not the mistaken gardener. He was and is God the Son!

“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ thinking that He was the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you put Him, and I will take Him away’” (John 20:15).