“Master Gardener” — now there’s an oxymoron, if we are being honest. While there is a level of knowledge and expertise that one gains by attending classes and working with plants and landscapes, one never really gains mastery over those plants in general. They’ll just do as they want more often than we care to admit.

In fact, the speaker at the last local Master Gardener event bemoaned the demise of a very expensive Monkey Puzzle tree at the display gardens in Jackson, Tennessee. Apparently, the more pricey the plant, the less likely it will do what you want it to do.

But knowledge is power. Knowing that daylilies cannot thrive with the same fertilizer as irises need can prevent some failures, for instance. Being aware of the best time to prune a Kerria Japonica can prevent an untimely death of a very nice shrub. 

Once our volunteer hours are logged into the system, my “Yard Boy” husband and I will be certified “Master Gardeners.” We have been mistaken for such already, and yet we still have so much that we don’t know! 

Our good friend Deena had encouraged us to take the course and get the certification in spite of being able to teach it ourselves. She was right. We now have “dirt cred.” We will never have “street cred” or respect for worldly accomplishments, but we do get asked a lot of questions about growing things! Our credibility just went up a notch.

We don’t mind helping other people learn and grow in their gardening efforts, and the new certification may make people even more confident that we might know a thing or two about what we are talking about. 

It reminds me of many years ago, when some churches who were searching for a minister told Gary that he needed a college degree in addition to the intensive 3 year program at an excellent School of Preaching. He went and did that. Now he has more “Bible cred” (is that a thing, really?) and a student loan to pay off.

“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God” 1 Peter 4:11a, NASB.

Preachers and teachers are told to teach with confidence, and rightly so; as long as it is with a solid Bible foundation. The real reason their counsel is sought out is not because of the sheepskin on the wall, nor because they have special ecclesiastical powers, but because of their diligent study. 

The apostle Paul told a young preacher to be careful and accurate. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Jesus didn’t give a wishy-washy caveat “In my humble opinion” when he spoke. Of course, he didn’t have any “opinions” that may have been wrong, unlike us. 

 “And they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority” (Luke 4:32). 

Imagine Jesus teaching scriptures — as part of the authorship! People love to hear songwriters perform their own works or poets read their own poetry. But this surpasses it by far!

As Cleopas and his companion observed after being with Jesus, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

The reason Christ could explain the scriptures so well is because they are divinely inspired. This is a love letter written to us by God, about God, and how we can get back to God. Read it!

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