Friday, August 30, 2013

Be a Sonflower

The days are dry.  The grasses that sway in the afternoon breezes are straw-like:  lightweight, brittle and snap at a touch.  The hills are beige, the grass is beige and the only green is sported by the grayish sage brush that grows in clumps here and there.  The skies are a hazy gray with a light touch of blue.  The sun rises an angry orange and the heat is oppressive, enveloping you when you walk outside.

Yet, despite the heat, the muted colors and the smokey skies, we are beseiged this summer...with sunflowers.  They are everywhere.
They dance in the sparsely grassed fields.
They line the roads, nodding as you drive by.
They do their best to decorate the burned trees from last year's fire.
They rejoice with the new growth that has since sprung up since that fire.
They add a much needed splash of lemon yellow to a dreary land.
They are not in a beautifully tended garden.  They are everywhere there's some soil and sunlight.

I have been enjoying the lesson I am learning from them this week.  They are an excellent example for me in my walk with Christ.  I need to dance in the joy He provides and the hope He alone can offer--where it is the most sparse is where the dance is needed the most.  I have a joy and hope that I can display to others--not for their approval of me, but to start a conversation about why I am dancing: "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  (Matthew 5:16)

I need to be where others are--along the roads of life.  I must acknowledge my fellow travelers on this planet, and try to catch their eyes with a smile.  We are the most lonely in a crowd because others fail to even look at us. 
Many lives have been scorched by sin, sadness and separation.  If I can hurt with someone, pray with someone and share with someone, I will be showing how Jesus has "decorated" my life: "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2).

The love of Jesus, flowing out of me, can reach people in a way that mere words cannot: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Cor. 13:4-8)  

In a dreary landscape, where people's hearts and minds are burdened with so much, a splash of kindness, of love, provides much needed color. 

Finally, Jesus' love in us shouldn't only be expressed in church.  That's the easy part--God's garden is clean, neat, full of smiles and seeming simplicity.  We need to take Jesus' love outside the garden, into the dry dusty fields of this world, relying on His soil and sunshine to make a difference.

Our world is in the long dry days of summer, with fires burning out of control.  Solution?  Be a Sonflower.

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