Watering the Kingdom Garden

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” -1 Cor. 3:6-7

Today was watering day at Ebenezer UMC. I took my watering can and applied it heartily to the souls planted there in that green and growing garden. I am grateful for the privilege, for a walk in the lush abundance of God’s mercy. They are his blossoms—a heavenly-loved group of about a hundred, who cloister in that sacred space each Sunday morning. Today, God entrusted me with their care, a ministry normally reserved for my father. Graciously, daddy surrendered his pulpit to me and to my heart and granted me full rights to speak as the Spirit led.

It’s a sacred gift, especially considering that next Sunday will be my daddy’s last at Ebenezer. These are hallowed days for him, his “shaking hands with his tomorrow”, counting them slowly and lingering in their richness. A chapter in his story is ending so that another one might begin. I’m honored to have written a few closing lines in this one.

My prayer going into today was that the Holy Spirit would weed out the unessential words and empower those that were vital. By all accounts, it seems that my prayer was answered. Still and yet, upon reflection during my two-hour drive home, I recalled some words left unsaid – words I wanted to release and words that felt (to me) really weighty, really significant. Those words? Well, something along the lines of . . .

“Years of training build a soul, strengthen a stride, and foster endurance in the heart of a seasoned saint. Strength grows in the darkness.”

Words like that. But even though they were never spoken aloud (and after letting myself off the hook for not saying them), I came to the conclusion that the folks at Ebenezer UMC probably already know this about the darkness. Many of them have lived in and through the shadows of the night and have come forth as gold – strong people forged because of strong sorrow. I saw the strength in their eyes and felt it deep within – unspoken words spoken between us, spirit to spirit through the Spirit.

And therein, the soil of my soul was watered as well. Just knowing that we were doing this thing together (walking the kingdom road shoulder-to-shoulder and sharing kingdom truth at soul-level) moved me to a posture of worship on the ride home and to shouts of praise all along the I-95 corridor. I may not always perfectly deliver God’s Word to others, but I am perfectly willing to lend my heart, mind, and soul to the process when given the opportunity. There is always a great blessing that arrives on the backside of such godly obedience.

God is the grower of good things. The rest of us? Well, every now again, we get to hold the watering can that pours out his grace, truth, and love. This is holy privilege, friends. This is God’s kingdom in us and through us. Let’s not spend our days measuring the growth in the garden. Instead, let’s spend our days nourishing it with the holy waters of heaven.

This is the best we can do. We can count on God to do the rest. As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

12 Responses to Watering the Kingdom Garden

  1. Sweet! My heart has been focused on similar themes in recent days. What a blessing you must be to your father, affirming not only his ministry, but his life well-lived.

  2. I am confident that God’s smiling nod was over you, my friend. I know you blessed those precious souls, and blessed God. Eternity will reveal the full measure of the impact of the words God gave you to speak. Blessings to you.

    • Excited to receive the news that your new study is on its way from Amazon! I can’t wait to share it with my readers.

    • Just when I think the can has run empty – God fills me up again … most often through the watering cans of his saints. Thanks for being one of them.

  3. Love the imagery. And your words, as they always do, reached deep into the roots of my soul with words of Living Water. Thanks, Elaine. I am always uplifted when I come here.


  4. Like father, like daughter.

    What a joy for both of you. I’d like to have been a fly on the wall. I know you said just what God intended. You were blessed and so were they to hear you.

    • And I can think of nothing better, Sonja, than to one day be in your presence where we could swap stories about our fathers and boast in the Father’s love for us. I hope you are well.

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