The old gardener looked proudly at his diploma which had arrived in the mail promptly as promised. Months of study had now afforded him the knowledge he needed to grow his garden.
The Lord listened quietly from above.
The old gardener was ecstatic! He now had the credentials stating that he was indeed a Master Gardener. He had more knowledge in this field than anyone. He could grow and maintain any plant placed before him. He knew the exact components of the soil so therefore he could reap a good harvest whether it be vegetable or flower.
Because of this title, he was now King of the garden, and a master of his craft.
Over time, the old gardener had developed a lovely garden filled with beautiful flowers and hardy vegetables.
He looked over his creation with much delight. He could not help but give himself a pat on the back almost daily. His pride was full and it overflowed to all who would listen.
"Look at what you have done good man," he would mumble happily to himself. "You truly are the master of this space”.
Suddenly a big sigh fell from heaven. The quiet groanings were incased within small rain drops. The shower gently covered the “self proclaimed” master gardener’s wonderland.
"Well this is not part of todays agenda," the old gardener grumbled.
The old man continued to voice his complaints.
"The forecast does not predict rain today! I watered this morning so I do not need any rain!"
He shaded his eyes with his wrinkled hands and looked up into the blue sky. He could not help but feel a bit puzzled as there was not a cloud in site.
Suddenly the wind began to pick up and the tender plants of corn began to sway back and forth. Suddenly stalks of corn broke violently into many pieces.
The old man ran to his corn.
"Oh no! This cant be so! I have grown you from seed! The old gardener cried.
He fell to his knees and shook his hands towards heaven!
“I am the master of this garden! I have studied planting, the soil, and the seasons!"
The Lord shook his head in disappointment and made the winds blow more violent.
The rain fell from heaven upon the old gardeners beloved plants until the
crops were washed away.
The only evidence to be had that a garden ever existed was nothing more than a document stating that the old gardener was indeed a master gardener.
The diploma hung within a fancy, wooden frame upon his wall. His name imprinted boldly on the document. The cursive handwriting was one he had never seen before.
Anyone who came to see the old gardener was happily introduced to his new title and position. He was proud to be master of the garden!
The old man could do nothing but look upon his garden in sorrow. All before him was gone in an instant. All his labor now in vain.
The old gardeners tears stung against his sunburned face. He slowly walked inside and closed the door.
Days passed and the old man could not bring himself to go outside. He contemplated deeply on what had happened.
He knew he had done every thing right, after all...he had all the proper credentials. He was indeed a master gardener as he had the document to prove it.
Each morning the old gardener would take the frame off the wall and give it a good dusting. He would admire his name which was printed below Master Gardener.
Curiously, it was not long before the framed document became a sorrow, even a burden to the old man. The joy was slowly leaving the heart of the self proclaimed master gardener.
He truly could not understand the emotions that were connected to this document.
There was a time the old gardener felt he was master of all. Now he questioned if he was ever a master at all?
One day the old man decided to place the frame in his desk, and hide it under some old papers. He no longer had the need to hang it so gallantly on the wall for all to see.
With a much more humble heart, he gathered his courage and went outside to survey his beloved garden.
As the old gardener looked at his surroundings, to his surprise, many vegetables and flowers had began to grow once more.
A profound thought came to him that they were doing so without his care.
"How can this be? How can they flourish without my human hands?" He pondered to himself.
The Lord smiled and the sun gently covered the plants and the wrinkled brow of the old man. He felt the warmth of the sun upon his face which made him look towards heaven.
“Perhaps, I am not the master after all my Father in heaven," the old gardener prayerfully whispered.
The old gardener continued to pray.
"Today I choose to relinquish my self-proclaimed title as master gardener and I give it back to you with a thankful heart dear Lord God. You have always been and will always be the Master of this earth."
The Lord smiled and His love gently poured down from heaven and the flowers bloomed before the old gardeners eyes.
Written by Sunnie Day aka Kimmie Thompson
“I love, I love my Master,
I will not go out free,
For He is my Redeemer;
He paid the price for me.
I would not leave His service,
It is so sweet and blest;
And in the weariest moments
He gives the truest rest.
My Master shed His life-blood
My vassal life to win,
And save me from the bondage
Of tyrant self and sin.
He chose me for His service,
And gave me power to choose
That blessed, perfect freedom,
Which I shall never lose.
I would not halve my service,
His only it must be!
His only, who so loved me,
And gave Himself for me.
Rejoicing and adoring,
Henceforth my song shall be,
I love, I love my Master,
I will not go out free.”
Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)