Audrey Hepburn once said: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Last year, ‘RHS Bridgewater’, a brand new Royal Horticultural Society garden, opened in Worsley, in North-West England. The masterplan was designed by world-renowned, landscape architect Tom Stuart-Smith. Today there are colourful flowers and beautiful plants and shrubs, where once there was mud and dereliction, but the younger trees will of course take years to reach maturity. Like all gardens it was planted with an eye to the future.
I wonder if we, like the best garden designers, have that same foresight? Do we plan ahead? I came across the following question some years ago: “What will you do after your retirement?” Notice, the question is not during your retirement, but after. Some people may be fortunate enough to save for their later years, but how many are wise enough to ensure a better life after retirement. As author Con Campbell wrote:
“The problem is we’re not accustomed to making decisions based on eternity. We’re impatient. We’d rather settle for junk today than wait for treasure tomorrow.”from “New Life” by Con Campbell
Con also describes how, in His love for us, our Creator has prepared “an inheritance that is glorious, beautiful, and eternal.” Yet unlike a pension, our place in eternity cannot be earned. We don’t gain eternal life by saving up a lifetime of good deeds and hoping for the best. Instead the ancient scriptures say:
“The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift—eternal life through our Lord Jesus, … the Liberating King.”Romans 6:23 (VOICE)
God’s free gift of forgiveness and eternal life is on offer to all those who recognise they don’t deserve it. It was Jesus who paid the price for us to enjoy a secure future after retirement, which He did when He died in our place on a Roman cross 2,000 years ago; paying for our wrongdoing and offering each one of us a completely new start.
Like planting a garden, to put our trust in Jesus and in what He has done for us is ‘to believe in tomorrow’. It’s only after retirement, that we will experience the full beauty, maturity and freedom that our hearts long for. But before then, we can enjoy God’s overflowing love and care in this world, when we invite Jesus into the driving seat of our life today.