“I can make some money doing what?” That was my reaction when my mom informed me about an unbelievable job opportunity. My mom worked part time for a lady named Mrs. Tora, who needed someone to come periodically to water her beloved roses. She would pay them handsomely for this simple task. “Are you kidding me?” I thought, “Of course I would.” I had spent the majority of the summer laboring quite hard cleaning homes and clearing yards that had turned into jungles. This sounded too good to be true.
When I arrived at Mrs. Toraʼs house, it was obvious that she loved roses. Her front yard was full of these blooming beauties. Mrs. Tora was a pleasant person who had a slight accent. She gave me a tour of her extensive garden highlighting where the hoses were located. She excused herself explaining that she was going to ﬁx some food for us to enjoy later. How could this be any easier? I love the feel of cool water and to get paid for watering some roses was a dream come true.
So there I was watering the roses when I saw that Mrs. Tora wanted something. I turned off the water thinking that the snack she was preparing was ready. She had a very confused look on her face. Her next sentence sent a chill up my spine. She declared that I was not watering the roses correctly. ARE YOU JOKING ME? How in the world could I possibly be doing this wrong, I thought. Mrs. Tora explained that she wanted the soil of the roses to be watered, not so much the leaves or rose petals. She lectured me for a few moments about how important it was for the soil to be watered. I was now agitated as I irrigated. I must admit that I felt kind of embarrassed that I had to be told how to water some roses. She even took the hose from my hand and started to show me how to water. This of course, was now humiliating. She then handed the hose back to me and asked if I understood what she wanted. I smiled and said yes. As she walked back to the porch she paused to see if I had indeed got it.
I started to mumble something under my breath as I watered the soil of the roses. It was during this time that our Lord brought a powerful truth to mind. We spend so much time worrying about and fussing over our outward appearance, but how much time do we spend nurturing our inside appearance? Or should I say inside disappearance. I was worried about making sure the roses on the outside were watered while totally missing the most important area, the soil. I know I am like most people who spend quite of bit of time standing in front of the mirror each morning making sure each hair is in place. I would venture to say that most of us attend to our outward appearance more than our inward. Remember what God said to Samuel as he searched for a new king of Israel? He reminded Samuel not to choose a king merely on his outward appearance because: “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” Seven sons of Jesse passed before Samuel before God told him to anoint the youngest son as king. We know him by the name of David.
So often we judge others by their outward beauty rather than the beauty that radiates from their inward appearance. There is a popular saying about not judging a book by its cover. That could also be said about people. How can we beautify our soul so that our beauty is below the surface in the most important and valued area? To start, be must spend time with our Lord. He is the master gardener. Spending time daily with our Lord praying, meditating, singing, and reading scripture puriﬁes our souls. When we are puriﬁed on the inside, we become radiant on the outside. I was about done with watering the roses when Mrs. Tora visited me again. This time she had a smile on her face. She complimented me and commented that her thirsty roses where now happy. I smiled and thanked our Lord for teaching me a much valued lesson about keeping my thirsty soul watered so that others would be attracted to Him.
Ed Tooley is a freelance writer from Glendale, California. His first children’s book will be published later this year.