The Kingdom of Heaven is like this:
There was an abandoned garden, filled with wild weeds and thorns, completely unkempt.
Then one day the gardener came and saw the abandoned garden. He began to work on it. He pulled the weeds and the thorns and the wild plants that had grown untamed. Some of the weeds were so deep, the gardener needed to pull out his sharpest tools to dig deep into the soil and unearth the mess. It took the gardener weeks upon weeks. Every day his sweat, often mixed with blood, poured out of his body and onto the earth.
Finally, one day, the gardener stood at the edge of the garden. What was once a jungle was now barren, an empty wilderness.
The gardener pulled a seed out of his pocket, and walked to the middle of the patch of blank dirt. There he planted that seed.
The gardener then began to build a small hedge of protection around the seed. Every day the gardener would visit the seed, water it and feed it. Soon the seed began to sprout out of the earth, a tiny little bud that filled the gardener’s heart with great joy! The gardener would sit by the sprout, tenderly weed around it, continue to water it, and marvel at it’s simple beauty in the midst of a barren dirtland that had once been filled with weeds and brambles.
Before long, the gardener began to plant more seeds into the earth. He carefully planned the placement and timing of each plant according to the seasons and conditions. He worked hard to tend to each plant. Daily he pulled out the small weeds that always seemed to creep in. The old brambles and wild plants that kept trying to take root in the same old spot.
People began to notice the garden. What had once been so unsightly, was beginning to look cared for. It began to radiate witht he beauty of new life. Each area of the garden pointed to the gardener’s skill and hard work. Passersby marveled at the beautiful handiwork, and before long they began to ask the gardener to come to their forgotten gardens and begin to breath new life into their gardens.
And it was the Gardener’s delight to do so, because that is what he loved most to do. To pour out his blood, his sweat, and his tears to make the forgotten noteworthy, to make the unsightly beautiful, to take the empty and fill it up, to breath new life into what was once dead.
That is the vision I have of my heart. It is a lifelong process. It is often painful (those roots are deep). It is often lonesome. But it always ends in joy. It always results in rare beauty.