Monday, July 27, 2009

I wouldn't consider myself a gardener of any real kind, but I do have a kind of green thumb. I live at the base of a granite mountain where the soil depth in some places reaches nearly 1/2 inch. Below that is solid rock. It makes for a great foundation for a house, but a really lousy garden. Still I have plenty of flowers and color around the house and along our drive, even some nice trees. True, the flowers are essentially in containers built in to the side of the hill and it took a backhoe to dig the holes for the trees, but we still have lots of flowers, all of a kind the rabbits won't eat. I have no idea why but the majority of the flowers the rabbits don't eat are yellow, as are the blooms of the natural brush around the house. Basic color may be the same, but each flower has a distinctive smell, shape and size. Actually they are nothing alike in some ways and very similar in others. God is so imaginative in how he blended plants and colors all to live and flourish side by side. Their distintives define them. There is nothing wrong with being different. God made yellow roses with their thorns, yellow poppies with their heroin, yellow Marigolds with their natural poison and yellow sunflowers with their life giving seeds. And they will all grow together beautifully in the same garden. Their distinctives only define what an how they are useful. I wish churches were more like flowers. Have all the distinctives you want without being devisive. Let your distinctives define, not divide. A yellow poppy could be addictive or medicinal, depending on how it is used. A dandilion could be a weed in a lawn or part of a dinner salad. Fifteen years ago at a Promise Keepers Pastors conference in Atlanta Georgia I signed a pledge to focus my ministry on how we are alike in Christ, letting my distinctives define, not divide. The garden I grow in now is far mor beautiful than it ever was before. My real goal is not to get people in church but in Christ. Col 1:27 "Christ in you , the hope of Glory. the shack study guide


Doni Brinkman said...

Great illustration as always.

counselingpastor said...

The illustration was thought provoking. Throughout Scripture God uses general revelation to let us know that He Is God (His eternal power, His divine nature), but also to define our uniqueness, our mortality, our value. Flowers as you mentioned, emit fragrances, their characteristics are evident , and their purposes have value. We may be aware that flowers and other products of nature may have negative uses, but we can choose to focus on the positive ones. Let's celebrate our individuality, allowing our gifts and talents and abilities to overflow with a fragrant aroma in the body of Christ, that we may be other-centered, encouraging, admonishing, instructing, and loving each other.