Lessons From A Sunflower

I accidentally grew three sunflowers in my balcony planter this summer. They were probably the result of some stray bird seed, but nevertheless there they were. In the beginning the sunflowers were quite pretty. But their beauty didn’t last long. Very quickly they petals began to dry up and turn brown. I wondered if the soil wasn’t deep enough for them or if they were lacking water. Then I realized that the death of one part of the plant was a natural part of the process that was bringing life to another part of the plant—the sunflowers seeds. As the petals died, the seeds were bring produced in the heart of the flower.

I was reading John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman in John 4 this morning. When the disciples returned from hunting up some lunch, they discovered that Jesus had been busy doing ministry. They thought they had left Him to rest by the well. They were concerned.

‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’ Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’” (4:31-34). The Lord went on to explain what that work was as he pointed out to them the countless numbers of people who had yet to be brought into the kingdom of God.

Like the sunflowers, Jesus was willing to let go of what wasn’t important to concentrate his energies on what was vital for the continuation of life—eternal life. Nature illustrates the need to get our priorities straight. Jesus modeled it for us. It was a lesson His early disciples learned and one we need to learn as well.

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