There is a land which consists entirely of one large garden within which is one Mansion. The garden is vast and goes far beyond what the eye can see. Some parts of this garden are wilderness and other parts are gorgeous, some parts are humble but beautiful in their own quiet way. The garden reflects the interests and work of the gardeners. Each gardener is given certain plants to care for by the Master Gardner. Some of the gardeners do a nice jobs, others are no good at all, and some are in between. This story is about a gardener named Richard who lived in a fairly nice section of the garden near the Mansion.
The Master Gardner said to Richard one day, "Here, you are in charge of this tree. Train it up in the way it should go and it will not disappoint you."
So Richard set out to do his bidding. His tree was a lovely little Dogwood which blooms pink, it grew close to the Mansion. He gave it everything a tree could need, plenty of water, good soil, and sun. Richard cared for it happily and got along fine, but one day he noticed it needed some pruning. Some of the branches were growing over and blocking view of the Mansion. He got out his pruning tools and set to work. Some of the branches come easy but some others had grown thick. He managed only to bruise the outside of the bigger branches and it grew quickly back over the spot. After Richard had been working at it a while he lost all hope. Just as soon as he pruned one another would come! Or he would try to cut a thick branch but it was too hard. He felt as if he could never prune the tree right, plus it was obscuring view of the Mansion! "It will grow into a wild thing all scraggly and ugly to behold", He told himself
A friendly gardener named Gordon saw Richards trouble. "Here," he said helpfully "I have a gardening book, the Master Gardner wrote it. Follow the directions carefully. It works, I know because that's what I do."
Richard took the book, sat down on one of the many stone benches and began to read with the sound of the fountain gurgling softly nearby. Some of the instructions seemed hard to carry out but at last he decided to try. He set at it with renewed vigor. At first it didn't seem to work but soon enough he got the tree under control. Now the Dogwood is in bloom. It is dressed in pink blossoms cheerily blowing in the wind. It is a honor to the Master Gardner and it beautifies his Mansion.
Richard, happy with his success, wanted to help some of his other fellow gardeners. "Look at this great book a friend gave me." he would say "It's helped me a lot with caring for my tree, especially with pruning. It might help you with your plants too."
Some of them would take the book and thank him, others would be offended that he would even hint that they needed help.
Richard went on caring for his tree and the Master Gardener saw he was doing very well. "Well done my good and faithful servant" he said. Then he gave him more plants to care for since he had done such a great job with the Dogwood. Richard was as happy as could be and always faithfully followed the instructions in the gardening book.
Master Gardner - God
Mansion - Gods Kingdom
Gardeners - parents
Tree - children
Branches that need pruning - sins and bad habits and attitudes of the children
Pruning tool - discipline
Gardening book - Bible