Garden Invite


It is a wonder I was not born on a church pew. Our family attended church services and congregation-related activities every time the church door was unlocked.

From my earliest days, I heard of Jesus. He was talked about at home, during worship time, and in Sunday School. I believed in Jesus and the stories of his life. Learning to walk and learning to follow Jesus were simultaneous acts.  I fell a lot but had no intention of given up on either.

I was familiar with Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

At the age of eleven, my focus turned to my own lack of obedience. The Bible was full of stories of people who immediately requested baptism upon meeting Jesus. I was a follower, yet had not entered the waters of baptism.

I told no one but thought about it all week. On Sunday morning, as the church sang: “Jesus is calling, calling, calling; Jesus is calling today; why should I linger, linger, linger? I will arise and away.” It was time to let all know of my trust in Jesus. Through immersion in the grave of baptism, I symbolically entered the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus to remove all past sin and to cover all future sin with His blood. My Christian life could then begin in earnest.

What I didn’t realize at the time, Jesus was inviting me to live in the restored eternal garden. The truth is, my theological acumen at age eleven was limited. I knew I wanted to follow Jesus but I had zero understanding of God’s garden restoration project. I had no idea God was moving history toward the restoration of perfect good first experienced in the garden.

As one trained in theology, I must remind myself God’s desire for me is not all that complex.  His invitation is simple. He invites me into his presence. He invites me into his eternal garden. Like the desire of a good father for his child, he only desires one reaction from me. He wants me to trust him.

Why do we make it so hard? What is your reflection? Stay tuned. – Gary

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