Open Bible, coffee, fireplace

My Father Is The Gardener

The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by our staff team.

As a fundraiser, my role involves a lot of speaking. This could be face-to-face, on the phone or in writing. When I speak to donors and funders, it’s important to use words that they understand.

  • This means avoiding technical words – instead of MDT, I might say leprosy medication.
  • This means keeping things simple – I identify a problem and show how a supporter can solve it
  • This means making a story relevant to the supporter – our older donors understand what it means to have reduced mobility or poor eyesight.

When Jesus spoke to people, he used words and stories that he knew people would understand. He made His stories relevant – using everyday images or everyday situations – to explain something.

A good example of Jesus making His message relevant is John 15: 1 – 1

In this passage, Jesus made His message relevant by using the nature around Him. Making His message relevant, allowed him to explain His message and help the disciples remember it.

Older versions of the Bible use the phrase “my Father is the vine dresser”. The New International Version of the Bible updates this to say “my Father is the Gardener”.

In this Bible passage, God is described as the gardener. He waters and tends the plant, caring for it. He removes negative things in believers’ lives so that the remaining branches produce even more fruit. He “prunes” branches to correct His people, shaping it in the way that encourages growth.

Jesus referred to another image: some Bibles call it deadwood, others call it dead sticks. These branches have lost their connection with the vine – the vine is the source of nourishment. The gardener has snapped them off and thrown these branches in a heap for burning. They have no useful function. A branch refers to someone who believes in God, deadwood refers to someone who does not believe in God.

2,000 years on, Jesus choice of gardening and nature images are still relevant. We can give thanks that as the Gardener, God loves us and cares for us, providing everything we need.

Let’s come back to our work. Our challenge is how do we relate The Leprosy Mission and our cause to the communities where we live? Are our communications relevant to local people? Do we insist on using technical words? Do we overcomplicate things?

2000 years on, Jesus’ message is still relevant. We must communicate The Leprosy Mission and our cause, making it relevant to donors and funders today.

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17th Jun 2016

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.