"An Inside Perspective"

May 2011


My Dear Family in Christ,

Ever precious greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Due to continuous changes in the authority structure here at the prison, I often must adapt the outside Greenhouse grounds accordingly. Whoever is in authority makes the call in regard to how the grounds will be laid out. I am therefore constantly moving, enlarging, widening, eliminating, etc., the flower beds and other floral areas. Last fall we got a new lieutenant and with him came big changes. One of those changes was to move our five rose bushes to another area.

On a sidebar, please know, that from my perspective, I have the best job in the whole prison system. My direct supervisor trusts me and has given much license in my work. I love my job like crazy. I am out in the fresh air praising God with my work and praying over all that I do. The birds are chirping and the bees are buzzing. The geese on the other hand, my arch-enemies, think I am preparing their own personal daily salad bar! My kingdom for a de-goosing idea!?! (Is that a word?)

I work like a human mule to the glory of God! It is my joy even as it written, “And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.” (Col. 3:23) A man ought to work. It is part of our created calling as providers. God honors work as it brings Him glory while providing our needs. As our stewardship in work proves faithful, the Lord will even “enlarge our borders.” (Ex. 34:24) We can then provide not only for our families, but also for needy members of the Body as well as missionaries in the field.

I am not at that point yet, making only $45.00 dollars a month. I am not joking so don’t laugh!? It is the Lord’s provision for me and I am very grateful. Honestly, I would work for free with a gratefully joyful heart.

I also know that the Lord honors my “widow’s mite” and that is very important to me. It is written, “It is required of a steward that he be found faithful.” (I Cor. 4:2) The amount is not relevant to the Lord but motive is. Intention of heart is everything with the Lord. It is not so much what I do, but “why” I do what I do that the Lord is concerned with.

Now back to my roses. I have five nice bushes that were doing very well, but as I said, I had to move them to a new spot. I moved them last fall as is the practice when transplanting. It gives them an opportunity to take root over the winter before the spring budding. Four out of the five “took” nicely and began budding early this April, the buds thus testifying that the transplanting was a success and life is in the plant.

The fifth plant, though, would not bud. It looked like it had not “taken.” Every day I would go to work, bend down and gawk, looking for any sign of a sprig, but there was nothing. This went on for weeks. After about three weeks the guys I work with, rascals to say the least, said rather heartily, “Throw that ‘bleep-bleeping’ dead rose bush in the dumpster and we will put something else there. It ain’t coming back!”

I said, “Oh ye of little faith. It ain’t dead, and I’m not giving up on it.” We had a daily war over this bush. Fortunately, these guys respect me so they didn’t pull it out although they really wanted to badly. (The Lord restrained them.) I made it adamantly clear to them that I would pray over the bush and the Lord would make it bud, at which point they looked at me like I had three heads, and in fun, proceeded to laugh me out of the Greenhouse. It’s funny but I love these guys and when it comes to the Book---we go at it hard! Save’em Lord!

Little did they know that I had already been praying over this bush. This time though, I walked over and laid hands on it. Three days later it was budding like crazy! I called the rascals over to look at it and they just mocked me. I said, “The Lord gave it life.” They said, “Whatever,” and walked away. Aaron I am not, but I was excited.

Nonetheless, I was encouraged as the Lord showed me that the lesson was for us and not for them. How often have we given up on people too early? How many times have we not prayed when we ought to have prayed? How frequently have we worried about what people would think so we did not lay hands on someone in prayer when we were sure the Lord wanted us to?

How many people have we given up on as dead and “unredeemable,” and thus, thrown into the spiritual dumpster? Do we fight for souls with the same fervor I fought for that lousy rose bush?

Remember, rascals are only unredeemed saints! Precious one, who is in your garden? Perhaps one of your transplants hasn’t “taken” yet. Have you lovingly gawked at them while praying for sprigs? You haven’t sided with the rascals and given up on them . . .