Gardener

“Nature poets can’t walk across the backyard without tripping over an epiphany.” 

Christian Winans


I heard that quote recently and it brought to mind another of my favorites from Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

“Earth's crammed with heaven, 
And every common bush afire with God, 
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”

The writings of John Muir as he entered Yosemite Valley for the first time also come to mind.  There is something about being aware of the creation around us and connecting to deeper meaning that makes the Creator seem even more tangible.

In the beginning there was a garden, and a man and woman placed there to tend that garden. Any pre-schooler in a Sunday school class knows that, but it feels like we have lost some of the wonder and anticipation this reality should hold.

What that story also points toward is the idea that we are, in fact, intended to be gardeners. We are to tend that field. Protect that creation. And most importantly, direct people back to the source of all that. It is in the preservation of that and modeling the life of the One who created that garden and tends to all things, that God will be best known.

One of the beautiful ironies of the Bible is found in the story of Mary Magdelene mistaking the resurrected Jesus for somebody else. According to John’s account, “Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'”

she thought he was the gardener!

The irony is that while it is seen as a case of mistaken identity, she actually nails the idea. He is the gardener. So are we.

One of the reasons we are so intentional about coaching Kingdom leadership is that we are not just called to be employers, we were meant to…

  • be generative governors (literally life-giving leaders)
  • caretakers of the garden
  • co-heirs of the Kingdom
  • the hands and feet of God
  • operate in His authority
  • care for His children as our own

Turns out that doing things in the way they were intended is not just about making things “right,” it is also really good business. Caring for employees and clients well, operating under a higher purpose, and assigning dignity and nobility to people and work, produces a multiple of incredible outcomes:

  • greater employee engagement
  • higher employee retention
  • increases in productivity
  • higher referral rates
  • and more

Acknowledging the garden all around us and taking to that field is not only the fulfillment of our ultimate Kingdom roles, it is the path to really successful business.

Consider

  • Do you regularly acknowledge the creation unfolding all around you?
  • Do you mostly confine your recognition of that creation to vacations in beautiful places?
  • Do you approach your leadership as a generative governor or a life-giving leader?
  • What would being more of a gardener of His Kingdom look like?