Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When Are We Open?

 “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” 
(Matthew 5:16)
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
(Matthew 7:6)
     Along our country road (translate: very dusty!)  we have an abundance of chicory plants.  They are a beautiful azure blue, and line the road as I drive to the old highway.  The plants themselves are rather unpleasantly skeletal:  they are thin and light green, but the beauty of those blue flowers more than makes up for it.
     Curious thing, however: they are only open in the morning.  When the sun rises, there they are—open and taking in the morning light.  But in the afternoon, when I come home, all I see is their is their skeletal forms with no beautiful blue flowers.
     I never really noticed it before.  I would drive the road each day in the morning, enjoying the parade of blue, and then in the late afternoon when I returned home, it was just the plants themselves.  Then it struck me…what is missing here?  Our dusty road is beautiful in the morning, but rather plain and unsightly in the latter part of the day. 
     Then I asked my husband, and he commented that the plants were preserving moisture by closing their flowers in the heat of the day.  I thought how interesting—in the scorching heat of the summer, they close their lovely flowers to preserve themselves.  Reasonable in a desert.  Reasonable in our walk with Jesus?  Do we close our flowers in the heat of day?
     I have two verses that stand out to me, the first being what Jesus said about throwing our pearls to swine.  He acknowledged that the very thing that gives us life will be destroyed by those who do not care and are actively aggressive towards us and our message.    After Jesus’ arrest, I think of how He was silent in front of Herod yet spoke to Pontius Pilate.  He knew which leader would receive His pearls of wisdom, and who would just destroy them upon hearing Him speak. 
     But Jesus also said to let our works shine before men, so that people will glorify His Father in heaven.
     So, do we close our flowers in the heat of the day (to preserve ourselves)  or do we stay open, morning, noon and night (regardless of the cost)?  I think, as with so much of Jesus’ teachings, that it’s a matter of the heart.  Jesus went into the mountains to pray and refresh Himself, away from the crowds and sometimes away from the apostles.  He needed His Father’s presence as much as those flowers need the morning sun to grow, and we need Jesus in our lives. 
     Yet, He went away from the crowds to refresh Himself, just as those flowers close in the heat of day, so whatever moisture they have, they can keep.  We need to separate ourselves away from the hurley-burley of our lives, to sit at His feet, be refreshed and preserve our hearts, for the days are hot and can wick away our joy very quickly.  His heart was to save all mankind; His time in the mountains was not selfish, but needed because of the great task before Him:  His saving death. 
     But then comes the next morning!  After we have “closed up” (spent time in Him) and we have been refreshed, we can reassert our joy and purpose in Him, and be all the more open to what He has for us in this day. 
     Our beauty, reflecting our time in Him, will line the dusty roads of people’s lives, and remind them that God is good.  If our hearts are refreshed, then we can truly do His work, so others will see it and not praise us but praise Him!  My chicory reminds me that they grow only because of the sun/Son!  Us as well!
Precious Father:  It is so easy to run, run, run and do, do, do.  Then, after a season, we are dry, our joy wicked away and we forget who we are in You.  Help us to seek Your refreshment, close up for a time, and have our hearts renew their vigor in Your presence.  It is only them we can truly be open and cause others to see You reflected in us.  Always, in His precious name, amen.


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