Monday, September 20, 2010


I can still hear my grandfather whistling, one of his favorite hymns. In the Garden would slip sweetly off of his lips and it was one of the first hymns I learned by heart.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

My grandfather was a painter; not your average housepainter. He took jobs to paint houses, but he was most often found dangling precariously from the tops of buildings or bridges as he colored our world. And he worked tirelessly, seven days a week, most weeks. Just recently, my mother recalled that he never took a vacation with his family. He would get them to their destination and return to his jobs to ensure that they would remain financially stable. He was perhaps the happiest man I have ever known. A twin, he and his brother grew up with 6 others and found great joy in hymn sings that occurred as often as possible. His life circumstances would not have necessarily bred the kind of joy that he witnessed to others. I have long believed that the joy of the Lord was what sustained and encouraged him.

Like my pop-pop dangled from places on high, I wonder how many of us dangle aimlessly in the high places, carefully struggling to maintain our "balance". Family, friends, careers, parents, sports, money and yes, even ministry occupy the deep spaces of our lives, filling the calendar and unfortunately, our hearts with things of the world and all too often not the things of the Lord. Everything vies for our attention ...and the hymn sings and quiet moments spent with God take a back seat to the chaos of our lives.

But, the truth, as demonstrated in one of the most well known occurances in the Bible is that God desires balance for our lives. We remember Martha. Oh, how I relate to Martha, as she scurries and scrubs, seeking perfection that could not possibly exist instead of sitting, as her sister, Mary did at the feet of Jesus. Luke 10:40-42 offers Martha's panicked plea, "Lord", she said to Jesus, "do you not care that my sister has left me to do all of the work? Tell her to come and help me." Jesus, the Jesus of the garden, responds with conviction, "Martha, Martha, you are so upset over these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it - and I won't take it away from her!"

The hymn, In the Garden, inspired by John 20 where another Mary, Mary Magdalene is awestruck by a meeting with Jesus proclaims, "I have seen Jesus!" And I find myself able to relate to this as well, how I want to see His face. And it brings me back to there is only one thing worth being concerned about. How easy it is to get bogged down with the details and tasks our servant hearts seek, but truly our relationship with Christ offers balance. He appeals for our full attention that we might be refreshed to serve Him and glorify His name.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet, The birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.
I'd stay in the garden with Him,

Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go;
Through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

Especially now, as summer fades gracefully into the sunset, we anticipate the busyness of work days, school days and days of eager ministry. Where is your balance? Is His voice calling to you? My prayer for you this day is that you seek His face whether it be in the garden, the dining room or the church prayer room, as you share precious time with Jesus. Let Him walk with you and talk with you, your relationship is worth being concerned about.

Have a wonderful week in Him!


In the Garden was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles after a request was made that he pen a song "sympathetic in tone, breathing tenderness in every line; one that would bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the weary..."



Eager ministry!

I love those words! Last night we had about 25 women here in my gathering room to begin our next 9-week Bible study! I'm usually the one more eager than anyone but this time all of these girls were so thrilled to see what God has next for each of us and we rejoiced together to be back ~ along with several new women who joined us! Studying God's Word is definitely the eager side of His ministry!

great post...

Jenny said...

What a beAutiful post. That is my favorite song also. It speaks to me the way no other does. How amazing and humbling it is to know He craves our time, our love, our companionship. And the joy we share, as we tarry there, NONE other shall ever know. How sweet is the time spent with Jesus, Creator, God, and Father!