Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
The Lord will guide… but often he’ll do that through you and me. We’re the ones who act as signposts for others.
When I first read that verse, I thought of Australia and the bush fires which have devastated vast areas. You’ll have seen the pictures on TV of acre after acre of trees burnt to a cinder.
But did you also see the news a couple of weeks back where they’d had just a little rain – and immediately there were shoots of new growth coming, almost impossibly, from trees which looked dead?
Well, imagine walking mile after mile through one of those burnt forests and instead of just a few shoots you suddenly saw in the distance a complete garden full of colour. There’s a grass lawn and flower beds and fruit trees surrounded by dry, arid, fire-scorched land. You would be utterly amazed, wouldn’t you? You would be drawn to look closer, eager to find out more.
Trusted and loyal
That’s how Isaiah describes you and me. We’re to be like well-watered gardens in a land that is parched. Full of colour, full of fruit. The way that we act and the way that we behave should be attractive and draw people to find out more.
And that’s what behind the seven Scout Laws. Can you remember them?
- A Scout is to be trusted.
- A Scout is loyal.
- A Scout is friendly and considerate.
- A Scout belongs to the world-wide family of Scouts.
- A Scout has courage in all difficulties.
- A Scout makes good use of time and is careful of possessions and property.
- A Scout has self-respect and respect for others
They’re pretty good rules for all of us, aren’t they? We could do worse than be known for those things.
Make a choice
Often what we do is a choice. We choose how we react to people and situations. Do we praise or do we criticise? Do we build people up or do we tear them down? And do we give a hand to people who need help or do we ignore them? What do you choose?
But when you’re in a dry land, gardens don’t water themselves. It takes effort and hard work. It’s either preparation beforehand to put in irrigation – or people physically watering. And it’s easier if it’s not one person alone but people working together as a team.
A well-watered garden
It’s the same with us. We get fed and watered by coming to church, singing songs, reading our bible and praying. And it’s easier if we do it together – as a team.
If you behave in a particular way once, then it becomes easier the next time. And the next time. So, practice doing the right things… by doing them. Be like a well-watered garden in a sun-scorched land. Amen
‘A well-watered garden’ was delivered by Ian Banks during a Parade Service at Christ Church Walmersley on Sunday 9th February 2020. For more by Ian please go to the Archive.