It’s nearing the end of the month of June; and for many of my readers, this means that the time for growing gardens is well under way! Perhaps some of you even have your own little piece of ground in which you’re raising some vegetables or flowers. Since growing and gardening are on so many minds right now, I thought this would be a great time to not only enjoy the beauty of flowers, but also to learn a lesson from them in this installment of our weekly series by J. R. Miller.
God must love flowers, for He has strewn the earth with them. They grow everywhere – not only in the garden and greenhouse, where they are cultivated by human hands; but also in the fields, in the meadows, in the forests, on the mountains, in deep canyons, along watercourses, and in all out-of-the-way places where no gardener cares for them. Flowers growing everywhere in their season, in such profusion, tell us that God loves beauty! They tell us also of His loving thought for us, His children, in so adorning the earth which He has made to be our home. He might have made it a desert – bleak and bare, without beauty to charm our eyes. But instead, He has spread loveliness everywhere.
The true ideal of life is likeness to God. God loves beauty; and we should love beauty, too. One writer repeats a story which shows how one man, at least, was affected by the beauty in nature. One day in the early spring, a Scotchman was walking along the side of a mountain in Skye, when he came to a hut which was the home of an old man whom he had known a great many years. He saw the old man with his head bowed, and his hat in his hand. He came up and said to him, after a bit, “I did not speak to you, Sandy, because I thought you might be at your prayers.” “Well, not exactly that,” said the old man; “but I will tell you what I was doing. Every morning, for forty years, I have taken off my hat here to the beauty of the world.”
Beauty – wherever it is seen – is a reflection of God’s face; it is the shining of heavenly light down upon the earth. Wherever we come upon it, it should touch our hearts with a spirit of reverence. God is near; we are standing in the light of His countenance. The beauty which we see everywhere in nature is the beauty of the Lord; and we should not only reverence it, but also seek to get something of its charm into our own lives. Very fitting is the prayer, “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us!” (Psalm 90:17)
If we are like God, we will not only love beauty and try to be beautiful in our lives and characters; but we will also seek to make beauty wherever we go. We will not only love flowers, but we will also endeavor to make flowers bloom wherever we can get them to grow. Everyone who has even a little patch of ground near enough to his hand should make it as beautiful as possible. Some people do this well. If they have only a foot or two of soil in their yard, on the crowded city street, they will find some way to adorn it. If they have no ground where they can get something green to grow, they put boxes of soil in their windows and make them bits of garden.
Someone has said that he who makes two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before is a benefactor. Everyone who makes any spot on this earth a little more beautiful is a co-worker with God. This is one way of blessing the world which may not often be commended or enjoined in sermons or devotional books; nevertheless, it is a way of doing good in which everyone should have a part…
If causing a blade of grass to grow where there was none before is something worthwhile, and something that redeems a life from uselessness; then how much nobler a work it is, and how much more worthwhile it is, to put a new touch of Christ-likeness into an immortal life – or to start a blessing in a community, which will stay there and multiply itself in goodness forever!
As lovely as flowers are, wherever they are seen – even in greatest luxuriance – they never seem so beautiful as when they are found in desolate and dreary places! When the mountain-climber comes upon some dainty flower on a crag, surrounded by unmelting snows, he is moved almost to reverence. One person tells of being deeply touched and impressed by finding a beautiful flower on the edge of the crater of Vesuvius. In a little hollow in the lava, ashes and dust had settled; and when rain had fallen, there was a cupful of rich soil ready. Then a bird or the wind had carried a seed and dropped it in this bit of garden on the crater’s lip, and a sweet flower grew there. No wonder the great traveler was so moved by such a glimpse of beauty in such a place!
As we go through the world, we come now and then upon human lives which seem almost utterly dreary and desolate in their condition or in their circumstances. Sorrow or sin has stripped them bare. Yet there is scarcely one such life in which we may not cause a flower to bloom. If only we will show thoughtful sympathy, or do some gentle kindness, we will plant a spray of beauty amid the lava and ashes.
Some of us are always ready to do good and helpful things for those who already have an abundance of comfort and happiness in their lives, but we are not so ready to reach out our hand to those whose lives are dreary and empty. We should remember that the most Christ-like love is that which seeks to serve and help those whom others are likely to neglect. The Divinest garden work we can do is to get flowers to bloom on the edge of craters. If you know a life that is dreary, and that seems utterly desolate and alone; then do what you can to get a bit of bloom planted in it…
There is a legend about Jesus which says that as He walked away from His grave on the morning of His Resurrection, sweet flowers grew in the path behind Him. The legend is true in a spiritual sense; for wherever His footsteps have pressed the earth during all these centuries, flowers have sprung up – flowers of love, kindness, gentleness, and thoughtfulness.
We represent Christ today. And if we fail to make little garden spots around us where we live and work, we are not fulfilling our mission; nor are we obeying the teaching that we should be an imitation of what Jesus was in this world, and repeat His life of love among humanity. It costs very little to be a true blessing to others. Selfishness does no garden-making, and plants no flowers anywhere. But if we truly love Christ, we will have His love in our hearts. Then we shall live not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and living thus, we shall be a blessing wherever we go.
Travelers in the desert know afar off when they are approaching a well of water. They know it by the trees that grow around it. Similarly, wherever a true friend of Christ lives, there is an oasis – a little spot of beauty, and a place of fragrance.
In what ways can you imitate the Lord Jesus today by planting little gardens of love all around you, wherever you live and work? How can you put a new touch of Christ-likeness into an immortal life, or start a blessing which will continue to grow and multiply in your church and community? Have you done your best to plant a little blossom of thoughtful sympathy or gentle kindness in a life that may be desolate or discouraged?
The Lord loves flowers, for they beautify the earth which He has made to be our home. Let’s pray for grace to be like Him! Seek to be beautiful in your life and character; but don’t forget to try to leave a little flower behind wherever you go, too!
Do you have a garden? Have you ever gleaned a spiritual lesson from your flowers that you would like to share? The rest of our readers would love to hear it – feel free to share it in the comments section below!
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for the King’s glory, Christian