There was once a gardener who lived in medieval England. He was an old man who kept a beautiful garden, filled with exquisite flowers, fruit trees and shrubs.
One day, the gardener heard a loud, thunderous noise. The noise persisted and became louder and louder in time. The gardener finally recognized that it was the sound of horses galloping towards his garden. He realized that these were the king's knights, who eventually ran over and ransacked his garden, violently plucking away his lovely flowers and chopping off tree branches. As he was a patient and loyal subject, the gardener let this incident pass and slowly nursed his garden back to its original, beautiful state. This incident, however, was not a mere isolated incident. It happened a second time. And also, it happened a third time.
By the third instance, the gardener had finally had enough. Fuming with anger, he stormed out of his house and headed towards the king's castle. He was frighteningly furious, with tears running down his face, muscles clenched and fists tightly clenched. As the gardener was approaching the castle, the drawbridge came down as if the king knew he was coming. As he traversed the drawbridge and entered the castle, the gardener's fists were immediately unclenched, his tears turned into tears of joy, and his anger turned into bouts of joyful laughter. One may ask, "why the sudden change in disposition?" The gardener saw that his flowers and branches were all over the castle's walls, pillars, floors and ceiling, adorning and beautifying even the king's throne!
It's natural to become discouraged as we experience set backs in our labors in behalf of the Kingdom of God. When that happens, it's important for us to remember that there is no greater honor than to know that our labors have brought glory to God--that our efforts have served to beautify heaven itself.
"Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (Revelation 4:9-11).