A Tale of two Gardens

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Coton Manor Garden in Northamptonshire.  The leaflet describing the garden says, “The ten acre garden, originally laid out by the grandparents of the present owner, encloses a series of smaller gardens providing interest and variety throughout… everyone will enjoy the charm and special atmosphere of the garden.”  Certainly I couldn’t disagree with that; it was a beautiful place, lovingly cared for and full of vibrant colour.  This year, it has been short-listed as one of the nation's favourite gardens. 

On returning to the house where I was staying, I looked over a broken fence into a neighbouring garden.  What a contrast!  Nothing has been done to it for years; it is a wilderness of weeds and brambles.  Perhaps the owner means to do something some day; perhaps he has ceased to notice or care.  Either way, the result is the same.

  

Hearts are rather like gardens – something will always grow in them.  If we do not seek, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to cultivate those Christian graces which are His fruit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – we can be sure that their opposites will grow without any effort on our part at all!

As C H Spurgeon puts it:

Tomorrow is only to be found in the calendar of fools; today is the time of the wise man, the season of our gracious God.  Oh that the Holy Spirit may lead you to seize the present hour, that you may at once give yourselves to the Lord by faith in Christ Jesus, and then from His vineyard -

                        “Quick uproot

                        The noisome weeds, that without profit suck

                        The soil’s fertility from wholesome plants.” 

I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down.  When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.   Proverbs 24:30-34