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.
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