Growing in God’s Garden


Num. 9:15-23, 10:29-36; Rom. 1:1-15; Matt. 17:14-21

I came home from a week in Hastings, Nebraska refreshed.  It was an extraordinary week of togetherness with other pastors, finding hope and joy in the midst of the rigor of ministry.  The Summer Pastor’s School was great.

I also came home to some of out control plants.  Some of the shrubs had grown and grown and were overdue for a trimming.  The garden was a bit out of control with weeds and overgrowth.  There was a potted plant outside I had forgotten about and he was in desperate need of watering.  He may not survive.  Tending to gardens is being aware that things are always growing and changing, and a whole week of being gone is not ideal.

Turning to our readings for today, I see a lot of things on the move. In Numbers we see God on the move, literally: the “cloud by day and the appearance of fire by night” that covers the tabernacle.  If the cloud moves in the morning, the people go with it.  If the cloud stays, they remain in camp.

We follow a God who is on the move.  He is not stuck up on that mountain.  He isn’t dwelling in a permanent temple, for all to come and gaze at in awe.  He is unseen.  He moves, and is on the move.  Where the people go, God goes.  It is as if to say, “I will be with you wherever you go.”  It is a foreshadowing of God being in our hearts.

Paul, in our Romans passage, also deals with growth – a people growing in faith.  Today he lays out the work of a mature mind, and theological concepts like justification, grace, and law.

In Matthew, Jesus cures a boy with a demon and reminds us that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains.

Growth and movement.  God on the move.  People growing in the faith.

In many ways Ordinary Time is like this – the summer is like this, with much growth and change.  In so many ways God is our gardener, tending, nurturing, and at times pruning our lives.   My hope is that this summer becomes a time of the regular diet of Scripture, and that you find yourself growing into God’s word, and discovering God on the move throughout the day.


3 thoughts on “Growing in God’s Garden

  1. Thanks for this Matt. It reminded me of Dodee. She loved her garden.

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  2. Interestingly enough, I was thinking about Dodee this morning as I wrote it. One of the plants that almost bit the dust was one that she willed to me. I actually said outloud to my friend Wesley, “Let’s face it, I’m just not Dodee!” Luckily she gave it good, deep roots, and it has rebounded!


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