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Flowers are our teachers

Grit and Grace

I came across a poem written by a 14-year-old boy, Jason Lehman, which was originally published as part of a "Dear Abby" article. It chides us to live in the moment and, I will point out, to learn the lesson of the flower. Listen to the wisdom of this youth:

It was spring, but it was summer I wanted,

The warm days, and the great outdoors.

It was summer, but it was fall I wanted,

The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.

It was fall, but it was winter I wanted,

The beautiful snow, and the

joy of the holiday season.

It was winter, but it was spring I wanted,

The warmth, and the blossoming of nature.

I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted,

The freedom, and the respect.

I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted,

To be mature, and sophisticated.

I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted,

The youth, and the free spirit.

I was retired, but it was middle age I wanted,

The presence of mind without limitations.

My life was over, and I never

got what I wanted.

Flowers teach us to live in the present tense of life. As the saying goes, "Stop and smell the roses." Flowers teach us that life is more than food and clothes. That what we are becoming on the inside is far more important than what we are becoming on the outside. That beauty is essential in our world! That worry cannot add one single second to our life, but that worry can help to end a life prematurely. Flowers teach us to be generous, kind, thoughtful and content.

The Scriptures direct our attention to the heavens which are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse that is declaring the work of His hands (Ps. 19:1). Jesus even exhorted us to take a look at the birds, flowers and the grass of the fields. If I may paraphrase Martin Luther, there are as many teachers and preachers as there are flowers in the world. Soren Kierkegaard said, "Let us consider seriously the lilies and the birds as teachers...and imitate them." John Muir said, "In every walk in nature, one receives far more than one seeks."

Jesus told his disciples in Luke 12:27, "Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these." The word "consider" is an imperative mood exhortation that means "to look at in a reflective manner, or to contemplate." Jesus tells us what this reflection on nature includes.

The flowers are completely dependent on God for survival. God sends both the water and the sunshine needed for them to grow. They grow easily and freely without worry. Flowers are not riddled with anxiety. The point is this: if God provides for the flowers, how much more will he provide for us? Flowers teach us not to worry, but rather to trust God. In this sense, an observation of nature helps increase our faith and to truly believe that God will supply all of our needs.

Flowers bring joy to us in times of celebration and encouragement in times of grief. Flowers remind us that life is short and to live each day as if it were our last. Consider this Scripture that reads, "People are like grass, their beauty is like a flower in the field, the grass withers and the flower fades..." (1 Pet. 1:24-25). They teach us that life is a gift from God. God's blessings are undeserved and spring up from His unconditional love. The result of our reflection on God's gifts should be that we gratefully enjoy the fruits of our labor by eating, and drinking, and celebrating life. Next time you stop to gaze at the beauty of a flower, remember that it is a preacher and it has a message of grace to communicate with you. Don't ignore its sermon.

Here's what's going on at Mountain Bible this month. Our 6th annual Pumpkin Patch is coming up on Oct. 12-22. We will have assorted pumpkins, a craft booth, photo ops, weekend hayrides, a bounce house and beanbag games. Our Harvest Party and costume contest will be Oct. 22 from 4:30 to 6 p.m., a hotdog truck from 4 to 7 p.m. and costume contest for ages 9-12 years at 6 p.m. Mountain Bible Church, 630 Maple St. I hope ya'll come out and join us at this event for Tehachapi.

Chris Frost is the pastor of The Mountain Bible Church of Tehachapi, and an on-call chaplain at Adventist Health Hospital where he teaches a monthly Empathy training class. He is a graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM) and has spoken at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and worked on projects with Lexham Press and Kregel Academic and is published in Bibliotheca Sacra. Chris can be reached at [email protected].