“These have such pretty flowers. But I wish they would grow some fruit!” the gardener observed as we pulled another bucket full of weeds this evening. He must have emptied that bucket at least six or seven times. And I agree with him. Our watermelon plants have very beautiful dark and light green swirled leaves and gorgeous orange flowers on them now. But the plants are still small, and I wonder if we will get fruit on the vine this year. I heard myself say it in reply, but I only realized after it came out of my mouth how significant it was for my life…
The flower comes before the fruit.
Recently my life has been focused on flowers. On finding beauty. On giving thanks for the small things. On straining to see pretty in the ugly struggle. I’ve planted flowers in my backyard garden and prayed God would plant seeds in my heart. That He will grow up royal purple, red love, yellow joy, green life, in me. And for his Sonlight to shine on the soil of my soul, that his spirit will soak down deep and grow up roots strong with grace. I’ve asked for beauty and envisioned my heart a flower garden fashioned with the Gardener‘s hands.
But this evening as I gave that reply to my father, the gardener, I realized… I am only beginning. That watermelon plant is revealing its beauty now in those orange flowers. But it’s purpose is not just to make flowers. It is made to grow fruit. And yet, no blossom, no food. The beauty of the flower is made to be enjoyed, but it is also made for the future fruit.
I feel as though I am about to transition, just like my watermelon plant. I’ve been growing flowers for awhile now. At least sometimes I can see, I can find with opened eyes, the beauty of this season of my life. Now I’m about to transition from a focus on flowers to a purpose of bearing fruit.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8
I’ve focused so much on resting the past year. It’s been so good, such sweet times. Oh how Americans, myself included, neglect this gift. Rest is for our good. And yet we reject it, refusing to unwrap the present of His presence. I have found my God in the stillness. I want to continue to rest well. To take one day a week and be refreshed, refueled. I plan to continue. Then it hit me the other day for the first time–God could have made six days of rest and one for work. But He didn’t. Rest is one day. A sabbath: one out of seven. So six days for work. A job included as part, but kingdom work. That which I’ve been assigned, given for joy. To pursue my passions, to go, to do, to try. I have been given the freedom to do so.
This evening, the gardener looked at the watermelon and loved the flowers, but longed for fruit. So it is with our God. He adores my beauty and loves the season of growing flowers in me. I know He has been pleased to answer that prayer. He is so patient with me that He can simply be present and enjoy the beauty of today. The Lord has also painted the rugged mountains of the face of the earth with every color of wildflowers, zillions of them. He enjoys beauty to the fullest. And then I hear him whisper, “More.” I am not finished growing.
I am made to grow flowers, in order to then bear fruit. God loves the unique beauty He’s put in me. And He loves the specific colors He chose to come out of your garden heart, too. He takes joy when we admire, loving what He sees in what He has made, in ourselves and each other. And then, He wants more for us. He has more for you!
Papa, would you take me from flowers to fruit? Thank you for making me beautiful. Thank you for opening my blind eyes to see the ways you’ve chosen to make me uniquely pleasing to your perfect eyes. Help me put into practice the gifts I have received from you in order that I might grow up and glorify you. Help me to bear fresh fruit and have patience with myself. Thank you for the opportunities before me. I trust you. Amen.
In order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the kingdom of light. ~ Colossians 1:10-12