My mother-in-law, who passed away several years ago, was known by family and friends in Northern Ohio for her green thumb. Year round, her home was full of a wide variety of vibrant, thriving house plants. People would routinely bring her their droopy, nearly dead plants but soon after receiving her tender care these plants seemed to miraculously return to life. My wife on the other hand, did not inherit her mother’s green thumb. Our home is devoid of plants. She seems to proudly proclaim “I even kill silk flowers.” Take a moment and think of your faith as a flowering house plant in God’s garden. Do you have the green thumb to nurture your faith to vibrancy or when it comes to your faith will you too have to proclaim: “I kill silk flowers?”
House plants can bring beauty to their surroundings. Flowering house plants are always changing. They blossom, bloom, fade and then repeat the cycle over and over again. To stay alive, grow and thrive they must be adequately cared for. So too is our faith; it must be adequately cared for if it is to grow and thrive.
Silk flowers on the other hand are devoid of life, but even they require care to remain pretty and brighten their surroundings. Clearly they don’t require watering or feeding but if they are not cleaned from time to time they become dull and dust covered. Because they remain the same and never grow or change, we often tire of these lifeless plants. Eventually they find their way into the garbage. Maybe my wife is correct; maybe we can all kill silk flowers too. Has our faith become dull and dust covered. Without a change will we, like an old faded and dusty silk flower, be cast into the fires Gehenna?
- Plant food
- Proper light
- Proper container
- Routinely inspected for bugs
I began to see a direct correlation to our faith.
We need to be watered. John 4:14 gives us this: “but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Do we drink from the source of living water every day?
We need food. John 6:53 tells us: “Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”” Are we consuming an adequate supply of Jesus each day? Dear Lord please give us this day our daily bread!
We need light. In John 8:12 we read: “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” Do we need to allow the light of Christ to shine into some darkened area of our life?
Are we in the proper container? 1 Corinthians 7:17 states: “Only, everyone should live as the Lord has assigned, just as God called each one.” God has planted us in the great garden of life. Our surroundings are unique and different. We most likely find ourselves in one or more of the following “flower pots”: family, friends, work, neighborhood, church community, and civic and social groups. If these are the containers in which God has planted us, maybe we should each ask ourselves this question: “Will I do what is necessary to bloom where I am planted?”
Check for bugs: 1 Cor 11:28 says: “A person should examine himself,” Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” It is a good idea for all of us to do an examination of conscience and reflect on our actions of the day each night before going to sleep. This gives us a chance to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness for our mistakes and for strength to do better the following day.
I also discovered this little nugget of plant care. One article that I read suggested that we should read the newspaper by natural light to our plants on a regular basis. The author suggested that by doing so two things would happen. First, if there is enough natural light to see and read sitting next to the plants, then the plants are most likely receiving adequate sunlight. Second, our exhaled breath contains carbon dioxide which is the source of life for our plants. This made me think of John 1:14 where we read: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” If we spend ample time reading scripture, Jesus, who is the light of the world, will make His dwelling within us.
So in conclusion, when it comes to nurturing our Faith, my hope is that we will, like my mother-in-law, be known as one who has a green thumb.
Father God, thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus. He is the source of all of my nutritional needs. Help me to be a flower that is pleasing to you, amen.As always, I love to hear your thoughts and comments below. Additionally, click here to send me an email.
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s request to do the writing on Civil Discourse. Click this link and scroll to the bottom to read the many comments by our 4th Day Letter readers.
Brian on a Podcast
I was recently interviewed on a podcast by Fr. Charles Klamut. The interview was just over an hour in length. When you have time click this link and let me know what you think: