Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Are you blooming like the Rose of Sharon?

My yard is filled with Rose of Sharon shrubs. The ones in my yard are the offspring of my neighbor’s shrubs, and I have transplanted several from my back yard to prominent spots in front of the house. The shrubs, which can grow to about 12 feet tall, are beautiful and they bloom from June to late September with blossoms ranging in color from pure white to hot pink to bluish purple – often on the same shrub!

There’s only one caveat to having Rose of Sharon shrubs, however – if you have them, you had best be prepared to have more. They reproduce prolifically and their seeds will scatter throughout the yard. Lately my Father has revealed an object lesson to me in my Rose of Sharon shrubs.

I have learned that I need to be more like those shrubs! First and foremost, you see, is in the name itself…the Rose of Sharon…another name for our LORD Jesus Christ. I need to strive every day to be more like my Savior.

Secondly, there is the hardiness of the plant. These shrubs are the most maintenance free plants I know of; if you transplant one in the spring and give it minimal water until its roots set, it will be blooming before the end of summer, and unless you are in an unusual drought, it will not even require much watering through the heat of summer. The shrubs thrive in full sun or full shade. In other words, the plant is not particular about where you put it. It blooms where it’s planted. Too often I find myself wishing for what I don’t have or wishing to be what I’m not, all the while not seeing the beauty of what I do have or what I am in Christ’s eyes. I need to bloom where I’m planted, because I can no more pick up my roots and move them or change what I am than that shrub can.
Thirdly, as with most shrubs, they become shapelier and more appealing with pruning, and fertilizing helps them to thrive. My Heavenly Father is the Master Gardener, and through the trials and tribulations he allows in my life he is pruning me of those things which are detrimental to me, and through the process He is shaping me into an image of Christ. And in those times when it seems that the world is heaping manure on me – perhaps instead it is a time when my Father is fertilizing the soil around me as I seek solace in His Word.

Fourthly, a Rose of Sharon shrub blooms prolifically, with each stem producing multitudes of beautiful blossoms. Yet while the blossoms provide beauty to the garden and food for the bees and hummingbirds, these are not their true purposes. The purpose of the blossoms is to draw pollinators to the plant so that it can reproduce. A blossom fulfills its purpose as it dies and drops seeds.

Herein lies the greatest lessons of all: I should live and act in such away that I attract others to Christ and I can not fulfill the purpose God has set for me until I die to myself, like the blossom of the Rose of Sharon. Then, by allowing Him to work through me, I can scatter seeds for His Kingdom.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24, NIV)

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and enduring word of God. For,
‘All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord stands forever.’”
(I Peter 23-25a, NIV)

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10, NIV)

There is joy on this journey, on my way home to my Father’s house,
Cindy <><

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