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I read this over at Families Against Feminism: The Great Debate this morning, and it was a real blessing to me. I love the reminder of how important it is to keep serving our King – even when things get tough and when others don’t understand.
A humble gardener was given the task of planting two rows of trees, on either side of the path leading to the king’s castle…they were to showcase the road, pointing the way to His Majesty. They were to grow to be stately, beautiful, and strong, representing all that was a part of the Kingdom.
The gardener took his shovel, and the little saplings, and began the long, difficult task of planting. The soil was hard, the sun was hot, and the days were long as he heaved the dirt, one hole at a time, where the little sapling would be placed.
Neighbors, on their way to various amusements, passed by and shook their heads at his outdated methods. “It takes too much time that way”, they said. “I planted some trees in my yard using the newest tool to dig holes–I got done in half the time and now I have time to do other things.” But the gardener just smiled, remembering this neighbor’s trees, how some grew crooked, and so he kept patiently digging by hand, ignoring the painful blisters that now appeared.
Another friend passed by and said, “I hired someone else to plant my trees…how much easier my life has been!” But the gardener just smiled, remembering this neighbor’s trees, how some were dwarfed, and feeble, and so he kept patiently planting, lugging the heavy saplings, and carefully placing them in their fresh holes.
Days later, another friend came by and saw the gardener watering, staking and carefully pruning the new trees. He looked tired, as he shuffled about in the scorching heat, gently tending to each new plant. But he pushed through his fatigue, wiped the sweat from his brow, and lovingly persevered. The friend stopped and asked, “Why so many trees? You could have saved half the time and work if you had only planted a few here and there…then you could have used the latest tools to plant them, hired workers to tend them, and you would have hardly had to do anything!”
Still, the gardener smiled, patiently continued his work, and looked up to see the sun finally setting, providing some relief for the hot day.
About that time, he heard the wheels of a carriage rolling up the path…squinting ahead in the distance, it looked like… could it really be…it was the king himself!
The gardener brushed some of the dirt off his shirt, straightened his old hat, and stood a bit taller, feeling the aches in his back from all his labor. The carriage rolled to a stop, and the king dismounted the carriage.
Walking up to the gardener, with a sparkle in his eye, he said, “I have ridden throughout the whole kingdom today. I have looked upon the garden of my subjects, and have found their trees to be quite lacking. Some are crooked, some are small, and some have blown over for the lack of deep roots. Some have brown leaves, from neglect. It was a sad sight, indeed.
But these trees….they are more stately than any I have ever seen. Even in their young life, they are straight, and green, and strong. I am proud of these trees…why are they so different?”
The gardener blushed, looked down, and then replied, “Sir, I carefully dug these holes by hand, though others thought me foolish. I carefully planted each tree, making sure it was in the right place to grow deep roots, although others urged me to hire someone else. Then, everyday, I carefully tended the trees, watered them, staked them, and nourished them the best I knew how, although others considered my work a waste.
And sir, I’ll admit, the days were long, and hard, and hot. There were times I wanted to quit. When I saw others passing by with their amusements, sometimes I wanted to drop my work and go with them.
But on those days, I would look up the long path, up towards the castle. And I would remember that these trees would represent your Majesty…and I did not want you to be ashamed of the job you had given me, and so I found renewed strength to continue my work. ”
The king, astounded by the gardener’s humility and character, ordered a feast, in all the kingdom, in the gardener’s honor.
But even more honoring than the feast, were the trees that the gardener had planted…they grew stronger and stronger, providing shade for the weary traveler, home for the birds, and most importantly of all, they pointed the way to the King, for thousands of years to come.