I’m Not a Gardener

Charlie 021220 1You might not be a gardener if you purchase annuals thinking it will save you money by not having to buy more flowers next year.  Yes, that really happened.  As I was planting them, my neighbor watched for a moment and then she said, “You don’t know what you’re doing!”  “I know,” I replied, “but I’m having a great time!”

A few months ago I heard, “Every relationship has a gardener and a flower.”  In some of my relationships I know I’m the gardener.  Just like planting those flowers, I don’t always know what I am doing.  I do know one thing though, flowers are fragile and when around them, one must be very careful.  As the gardener, you should show love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The fruit of the Spirit of God. (Gal. 5:22-23)

The most common way to water a relationship is with words, but the ones chosen should be selected with wisdom.  Do not speak to someone about issues in their life with a heart half listening.  You like them, don’t you?  Listen with intent.  Pay attention.  Be focused on them and please, I repeat, please do not look at your phone.

Realizing time is a valuable gift, giving it to someone can cost you so much.  We, ourselves have so much to do and to get done.  It seems as if there just isn’t enough time.

Don’t let them see the price tag attached to your time, and be extravagant!

Whenever I don’t know how to do something, or what to say to someone, I turn to God and ask him to give me words, or instructions.  God loves us so much and is always available to talk to us.  He gives you all the time you want, and he knows what to say.

God waters you enough to allow you to grow at the right speed.

He also knows how much to shine upon you.  God, is a good, good gardener.  Oh, and as for the price, his son, Jesus paid it for you.

Trust the master gardener to show you how to feed, and nourish someone else.  I have come to recognize I enjoy gardening, in the spiritual sense.  So I guess I would have to change the title now to, “I’m a Gardener”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Helping Without Hurting

hwhstm-lg-coverI have mentioned this philosophy in a couple of blogs of “helping without hurting”.  I wanted to share a little more about it.

One person on a recent mission trip came back and reported the locals despised the Americans who came to build them a church.  Instead of working with the locals they took over and sure enough built a church building in one week.  So why were the locals upset?  Because the week the Americans were there, they were unemployed.  This is a great example of “help that hurts.”

There is a way of helping without hurting, but first you should understand some principles.

  1. Recognize that we are all poor.  When Adam and Eve sinned mankind fell out with God, with each other, with themselves, and with their world.  We all became poor.
  1. We in America, a lot of times, will describe poverty as not having material possessions. Someone in real poverty will likely describe poverty as embarrassing, failure, shame, and hopelessness.
  1. Know that we here in America are not superior to anyone else. Wealth is not measured in the things you own (or paying the bank for each month).  Not in the size of your house or the cost of your car.  True wealth is measured in the strength of your relationships with God, yourself, others, and with your world.
  1. You can actually make someone feel worse when you give them, or someone in their household something they cannot provide themselves.
  1. You help someone else by building a relationship with them. Once that is established you can encourage them, show you believe in them.  This gives them hope, and self-esteem.  This will help give them the confidence they need to find their own way out of poverty.  Jesus modeled this for us.  He didn’t come to give material things to people, but instead He said things like “I came to you”, “I accept you” which are relationship building words.

If you want to get your hands on the same resources I am learning from you can go to:  https://www.chalmers.org/

When you begin to understand what real poverty is you will begin to see it everywhere, and not just think of poverty as something in 3rd world countries.  It is time we start helping without hurting.