Home - About Me - Salvation - Statement of Faith - Links

Testimonies - Encouragement - Inspiration - Message Archive



108th -- Carl's Garden


We need to always keep in mind that the kindness that we bestow on others
will affect them for the better and in turn change the way they treat the
people they come into contact with. This is an excellent story that shows
how kindness will bring results even when we are being persecuted or
treated wrongly in the process.

I hope you are blessed by this story as I was. 


Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with
a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for
over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well. 

Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight
of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from
a bullet wound received in WW II. Watching him, we worried that although
he had survived WW II, he may not make it through our changing uptown
neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug

When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring
for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his 
characteristically unassuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up.
He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared 
finally happened. 

He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members 
approached him. Ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply 
asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?" 

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure", with a 
malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two 
grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the
ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his 
retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled. Carl tried to get himself
up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg. 

He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help
him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he 
couldn't get there fast enough to stop it. "Carl, are you okay? Are you 
hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just 
passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. 

"Just some ignorant kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday." His wet clothes
clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the
nozzle again and started to water. 

Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you 

"I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately", came the calm
reply. Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister
could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place. 

A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was 
unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink form his hose. This time 
they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him
head to foot in the icy water. 

When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down 
the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another 
laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched 
them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and
went on with his watering. 

The summer was quickly fading into fall. Carl was doing some tilling when
he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled
and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his 
footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormenters reaching
down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack. "Don't worry old
man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time." The young man spoke softly, still
offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. 

As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket 
and handed it to Carl. "What's this?" Carl asked. 

"It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the 
money in your wallet." 

"I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?" 

The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned
some thing from you", he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like
you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But 
every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and 
fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating
you. You kept showing love against our hate." He stopped for a moment. "I
couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back." He paused
for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. "That
bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And with
that, he walked off down the street. 

Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took
out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet,
he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride
that still smiled back at him from all those years ago. 

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his
funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall
young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the 
church. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice
made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden
as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: "Person needed to 
care for Carl's garden." The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners
until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. 
Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands 
holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the 
young man said. 

The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the 
stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl's kindness had turned 
this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden
shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him." 

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the 
flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. In that time, he went to 
college, got married and became a prominent member of the community. But 
he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as 
beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it. 

One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care
for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My 
wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on 

"Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden 
shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?" 

"Carl", he responded.

Author Unknown

Just as our Heavenly Father shows kindness to the just and to the unjust,
we are to have the same love and kindness towards others regardless of how
we are treated, and in doing so the Love of Christ will be shown through
you, resulting in that person being changed. (Luke 6:35-36)

I hope you were blessed by this story and remember how the life of a
righteous person will affect all who come into contact with them.

In Christ Service, 

Dwayne Savaya 
Gods Work Ministry 


Previous Message

Next Message


Back to E-mail Message Archive Contents 3