Plain Garden Variety

Written by M. Larson

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My daughter Lori and I stopped to browse among the boxes of plants in front of a large store. “Oh, Mommy, look at those!” she cried. And then her attention was caught by other flowers she thought even prettier.

Stopping beside some boxes of blue ageratum, I selected one. “Get me a box of flowers too, Mommy,” Lori pleaded.

“All right,” I said, “tell me what you want.”

After much vacillation, Lori finally settled on white petunias with dark purple  stripes. They were pretty, but since they were hybrid petunias, they had no fragrance. After we planted them, it took quite a while for those hybrid petunias to take hold. I also began to think it was going to be a race between the slugs and the flowers! But we finally did get a few petunias to show their pretty faces.

In August we moved to a new house and I wanted to take along some instant beauty. So I carefully transplanted some flowers in front of our new home. Several of the hybrid petunias went along.

The following spring I discovered that five petunia plants had sprung up on their own, perhaps seeded from those we had bought the year before. But petunias revert to their natural form when they seed themselves. I wondered what color these would be.

These plants were vital and healthy, with multitudes of limbs and flowers. They were much more prolific than their parents had been. The first one to blossom had big, almost white flowers. The next one was purple with just a very slight pinkish tinge. The third was lavender. And what lovely delicate fragrance they exuded! How much better these are than the hybrids, I thought.

The lowly are chosen of God

These flowers reminded me of First Corinthians 1:27, 28, which says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.”

Indeed God uses those to the greatest extent who willingly stoop to minister even as Jesus did. He chose to use for His glory shoemakers like William Carey, who evangelized India, and fishermen like Peter, James, and John, and the unassuming seamstress named Dorcas, whom God restored to life when Peter prayed.

Each of us, no matter how little knowledge, education, or talent we may feel we have, has a special place to fill in God’s work. Like William Carey, we can study God’s Word while we’re working. Like Peter, James, and John, we can fellowship with the Lord day by day until we are so like Him that we may “turn the world upside down” as the early Christians did. Like Dorcas, we can minister to our fellow Christians in lowly ways, and others can see the power and love of Christ in us!

When our Lord washed His disciples’ feet, He said, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:15-17, NIV).

Questions: Why does God so often choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise? Can you think of an example in your experience where this has been true?

About the Author Muriel Larson

4 Responses to “Plain Garden Variety”

  • sharonb says:

    to put them in their place and let them know He is in control of all things

  • And yes the Illustration was Incredible! I will use that when I speak at a summer camp for girls this summer! Thanks :)

  • Yes, I can totally relate to this. I came to Christ when I was 28 years old. My life up to that point was a country song waiting to be written. When I got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit I grew in love with the Lord more than words could say. I was later called by the Lord to be a Women Pastor ~ people said you cant do that, “the bible says”
    However I couldnt turn my back on what my insides were telling me. Yes HE does use the foolish things to shame the wise! I had been a Youth Pastor for the past 10 years, and now I am a Pastor of Missions ~ I love people, I love Pastoring and I love being a women! Wow we serve a creative God.

  • Ruthann says:

    Thank you , Muriel
    enjoyed your “word picture” aopproach with the flowers to get the message across. Ruthann

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