When selling Hope House, our home in Tinytown, as I often called Ebenezer, I enjoyed the opportunity to walk the prospective buyer through the yard in which the Preacher and I (mainly the Preacher) have worked so hard for the last decade. Spring had made promises it hadn’t kept yet, but she wanted to know which perennials would soon bloom in our gardens.
“I’m not a gardener, really,” I told her, “but I’ll be glad to tell you what I know.” I pointed to a cluster of rose-like succulents, their edges blushing pink, as they always do in spring. “Those are hens and chicks. This is a spirea and there’s a rose. The lady who lived here before we did brought it from her farm. And I don’t know what those green fuzzy things are, but they take over. And this dried up looking stuff?” I bent and pulled away some of the small brown leaves to reveal chartreuse below. “That’s creeping Jenny—it’ll come back on its own.” She nodded; said she recognized it.
We moved round to the back; my favourite part of the yard, especially the raspberry row. God’s candy, I often told a young grandbean, whichever one happened to be with me. I explained to her how to trim the canes each spring, then remembered. “Oh, hey, there’s a feral cat buried under that stone at the end of the row. I tried so hard to earn her trust, but in the end…anyway, she’s home now. And would you like me to leave that fountain at the back? It doesn’t work, but it looks like a sculpture? How about the decrepit willow chairs? And oh, we have lilacs. Lots of them. Three colours!”
“I love lilacs!” she said. And on it went. She was easy to talk to. Told me she already loves the place the Preacher and I have lived in and loved for over a decade.
But in the end, it wasn’t the gardens, or the house itself that won her. “It’s all the light,” she said. “Such beautiful light in every room. And the room with the garden doors that leads right out to the deck! All that sold it for me,” she said.
Jesus described himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12) He also said, in Matthew 5, that his followers carry that light within them. We who follow him put considerable work into the visible aspects of our faith. On leaving a good impression, on programs and great music. But when it comes to in sharing with others the faith that changes destinies, do we remember that it’s not our beautiful buildings, our attractive programs, our erudite preaching or brilliant apologetics that wins people over. It’s the Light of the
World that shines through us. It’s showing them clearly which door leads to the Lover of our souls and the garden of his delights.
Do we do that? And if so, do we do it enough? I wonder.