A Small but Indispensable Service

(last summer’s flowers)

A garden…teems with life.  It glows with colour and smells like heaven and puts forward at every hour of a summer day beauties which man could never have created and could not even, on his own resources, have imagined…

Without life springing from the earth,
without rain, light and heat descending from the sky,
he could do nothing.

When he has done all,
he has merely encouraged here and discouraged there,
powers and beauties that have a different source.
But his share, though small, is indispensable and laborious.

When God planted a garden He set a man over it and set the man under Himself.
When He planted the garden of our nature
and caused the flowering, fruiting loves to grow there,
He set our will to “dress” them.
Compared with them it is dry and cold.

And unless grace comes down, like the rain and sunshine,
we shall use this tool to little purpose.
But its laborious–and largely negative–services are indispensable.

          ~ C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves


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