When we are able to spend time at our home in Crestline, one of the first things I do when we arrive is go to our gardens in the back to see how the plants are prospering. They have done exceptionally well during the more than two years we have been in Lake Havasu, for our house has set empty, and the yards have mostly taken care of themselves. We do have rudimentary sprinklers, but they don’t cover everywhere, and we have lost some plants. All in all, though, given the circumstances we are pleased.
A couple of weeks ago, I walked into the back, and there in a graveled area where is a swing and other lawn furniture, had sprung up this magnificent sunflower. We don’t have sunflowers anywhere on our property, nor am I aware of any in the neighbor’s places, but somehow a seed had blown in or had been carried by a bird and dropped there. While we weren’t looking, the determined seed burrowed into the little-watered earth, clamped down, rooted, and then, from within the decaying shell, there pushed up green tendrils, so determined, so healthy that a stalk formed, and, still while we weren’t looking, buds formed, and then one opened. And there it was, a glorious, golden sunflower.
Amazing, isn’t it. A whole knot of stunning lessons is here.
First, don’t try to be something you are not. Be who you are. A sunflower is not an exotic plant, but a rather common flower, probably even considered a weed in some circles. Think about it, though. Should he try to be an orchid or a petunia or a tomato, he would certainly fail. But at being a sunflower, he excels, he flourished, for that was his purpose, his destiny.
Second, don’t complain about conditions. Dry earth? Dig in a little harder. A deserted garden? You never know who will visit some time. Lack of fertilizer? Look within yourself, engage your inner strength and resources.
Third, don’t worry that no one is seeing you do your work. Just keep at it. Not a human in this world knew that little seed was working in our patch of land, never an eye saw the little fella push up through the earth and poke out his tender head, not one ear heard the cracking of the bud and the sprouting of the leaves. Finally, though, I saw it, and admired it, and took its picture, and watered it, and thought about it, and wrote its story.
Think about it, though. Think harder. There are thousands of sunflowers who do their magnificent job…and truly no one ever knows, no one admires nor snaps pictures, nor picks for a bouquet. Is their work wasted? Energy expended in vain? No. God knows; He who spoke and who gave the seed and ignited the germ sees and notes…and one day, perhaps through the wind of a thunder, may blow a seed, un-noted, unexceptional, common, mundane–into someone’s garden and bring joy.
Number four. Your lifework creates a place for others. When I went out in the morning to take pictures of my sunflower, I looked closely, and deep within its parts were tiny insects and water drops that had settled into the glowing compartments. Oh, you may not know, never be aware, but your sterling life, your integrity, your living to purpose creates a dwelling place for others…brings peace and trust and refuge. As I watched, insects scurried about in the golden place of a common ordinary sunflower, a sunflower that was living to purpose and to destiny.
How about us? Wonder how we’re doing. Is it possible we can learn today from a common glorious sunflower?