Friday, October 4, 2019

Bloom Where You're Planted


1 Corinthians 12:27-28
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.  And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

Back in June, my husband, Danny, and I select and pot various flowers to decorate our deck for the summer (which I'm now calling the Endless Summer, because here we are in October, and temperatures are still soaring above 90!).  We usually plant in early May, so we aren't sure if setting out these beauties later than normal will have a positive or negative effect on their growth.

Let's begin with the exotic-looking Aretes Upright.


I select this particular plant for its delicate, colorful blooms.  After planting it, though, the Aretes produces flowers only one more time!  Yes, it grows, but this is what it looks like in late September.


A disappointment?  Only if we expect the plant to do something it was never intended to do.

Next up, the begonias!


There are two in this pot, but one grows like the proverbial weed, and the other, though it bravely blooms, remains the runt of the litter.


I have to admit, though, the begonias have methodically produced flowers over these past four months.

I buy two double impatiens because my experience with them in the past has been nothing but spectacular.


Not so this year!  See all those bud clusters above?  Dropped off!  Every last one of them.  Then, it seems to take forever for either plant to produce any sort of lasting flower.  Talk about making us impatient!  But about the beginning of September, these late bloomers come to life.


But the star of the deck show is the intrepid Summer Wave Bouquet.


This is the way it looks when we first plant it; just look at it now!


Glorious purple flowers adorn the delicate stems consistently, faithfully.  How stunning!  How inspirational!

What, you may be thinking, do the performances of these plants throughout the Endless Summer have to do with St. Paul's description of the body of Christ?  Let's explore!

The Aretes Upright attracts the eye, captivates the heart, with its unique blossoms.  Right into the fold it comes, as my judgments are short-sighted, and the treasure is perceived in the present.  Yet, though it fails to bloom past the second round, the vine stays strong, healthy and persistent.  It is obediently completing the work God has given it, and lends us joy and a steadfast spirit through its perseverance.  

Tall or small, the begonias exemplify a quiet confidence as they blossom continuously and flawlessly from beginning to end.  Size doesn't matter.  Determination does.

The impatiens?  How many folks have you known in your life who are late bloomers?  Those for whom you pray that they would wake up and get a handle on what life is all about.  And you think, mistakenly:  Will they never make it?  What a difference these people can make in the life of the church and the community when their mission and calling at long last comes alive!  We are all blessed by their presence and contribution.

And then, there are those persons, like the reliable Summer Wave Bouquet, who never run out of encouragement that they willingly bestow upon others.  They are the breath of fresh air, the reviving drink of spiritual water, the eternal banquet never failing.  When we encounter them, we are inspired to double down on our commitment to spread the Good News of God's kingdom.

You see, even the plants can share the goodness of the God who created them, when we are willing to open ourselves to witness His hand in all His works.

Open your eyes.  Open your hearts.

Share the gifts God's given you; love and respect the gifts He has given others.

And remember, always, to bloom where you're planted.

Amen!


22 comments:

  1. What a wonderful modern day parable, Martha. Yes, we are like different plants, who behave in various ways as you describe above. Some people are even plastic flowers who pretend to be Christian but in reality they are not. It is all s fake show. Their Christianity just a label.

    Great post once more. Thanx.

    God bless.

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    1. Oh, Victor, I love your observation here about some people being plastic flowers when it comes to faith. Sadly, for them, it's all a show, as you point out, and no substance. God so wants us to grow in our love for Him. Praying today for those who don't know of His great grace.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Ironic you should post about this today, I have been mulling over the same thing lately. We have proven before to be on the same wave length. A reminder God is teaching us essential truths which apply to each of us. Great post today, My Friend!
    Blessings!

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    1. Absolutely what I would call a God-incidence, Loralu! I find, too, that often I'll be thinking of a concept, and will read about it on two to three other blogs within the week. God's hands are all over this.
      Love and blessings!

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  3. I love the title of this post because it reminds me of when I lived overseas in several countries. The first was Thailand, and while I was there, I started a professional women's network. We grew to 130 women from over 30 different countries. One of the themes in all our "stories" was that we all learned to adapt to the country we were in. In order to be successful, we had to expand the way we defined ourselves and our skills so that our opportunities were multiplied. When we limited ourselves to a narrow identity based on what we had done before, finding work was much more difficult if not impossible.

    My time overseas was full of life changing blessings. I was fortunate to live in three different countries on three continents -- different cultures, languages, everything. Lots of putting this principle into practice! Thank you for reminding me of my expatriate adventures!

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    1. And thank you, Galen, for sharing the insights you gleaned from living abroad. It would definitely demand us to bloom where we are planted. Honestly, I don't know if I could have handled this myself, but glad to have such a courageous and adventurous friend!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. What a wonderful spiritual analogy to the Body of Christ. This really made me think! I need to do more of that...my brain has been a bit foggy lately due to chronic "illness" it seems...but getting better. Also, this reminds me I need to go water my front deck mums. They are drying out too quickly and need a lot of water to keep producing. they also need to have the dead blooms plucked off so new ones can come forth. Might be a story there too... Have a blessed day...

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    1. So glad you liked my analogy here, Pamela - thank you! Yes, I need to water my flowers, too, as we've been in such a drought as of late. And I can definitely envision a blog about why God needs to prune us so we can bear more, and better, fruit. That's one you might want to go for!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. You, dear Martha, are like the Summer Wave Bouquet!! Thank you for always inspiring and up-lifting your readers!!

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    1. Oh, Terri, you are too kind! It is my prayer that my blogs give hope and encouragement to others, and I do so appreciate and treasure your affirmation here.
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Wonderful, Martha! Even the least of these will shine in it's own time and place. Color me, doubling down!

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    1. Even the least of these . . . Amen to that, Mevely! And may we all resolve to double down on sharing the gifts God's given us with others.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. I'm planning a series during November on using our gifts in service. This fits right in. What struck me was the first one when you asked, "Disappointed? Only if..." How true in life. Disappointment comes only if we are expecting something never intended. Good analogy Martha.

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    1. How cool is that, Bill? I know that sermon series will be a hit! Thanks for your kind words about the analogy, too. It is so true, isn't it?
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Such nuggets of wisdom you have gleaned from the flowers! Thank you for sharing with us here. :)

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    1. Makes me happy knowing you enjoyed the post, Cheryl. Glad to be sharing, too!
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Bloom where you are planted, indeed! We can only be the person God made us to be. I love how you shared your lessons from the flowers. 1 Corinthians may be my favorite book in the Bible. I find myself coming back to it over and over again.

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    1. Yes, Laurie, we have to be the person God created us to be; nothing else will suffice. 1 Corinthians is an amazing book, I agree. It's difficult for me to choose a favorite book in the NT, but I'm partial to Peter's and James' letters.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Martha, this is an interesting way to think about spiritual gifts and using them. Thank you for these words of encouragement.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Kim!
      Love and blessings!

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  11. Lovely image and lesson here today, Martha. The weather turned to fall this week in Ohio. My outdoor plants took all sorts of turns this summer too - some thriving some dying, some barely struggling to live. Reminds me life too has its ups and downs. Have a blessed weekend

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    1. Life absolutely has its ups and downs, Jean - even our plants know this!
      Love and blessings!

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