A rose by any other name...
It's time for another devotional drawn from nature. Our focus: a rose!
At least I think it’s a rose… it’s pink, beautiful, and has petals sweeping around to embrace one’s heart. What more must a rose have?
Barbs, you say? I assume thorns line its stem, though I didn’t look to be sure, as I don’t like getting stabbed or pierced when I don’t have to.
You see, there was this one time I was stung, and it hurt something awful, so I try to avoid that whenever possible. As it says in Proverbs 22:3, “The wise see danger ahead and avoid it, but fools keep going and get into trouble.”
Of course some people question whether I number among the wise or the fools, to which I quote Titus 3:10 — “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.”
That often leads to a surprising result — my accusers leave me, whether I’ve given them a warning or not. My mind sometimes takes heart in that, recalling the advice of Romans 16:17 — “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”
And yet that goes against my natural inclination and Christian calling to reach out and help everyone, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to ‘encourage one another and build one another up.” Galatians 6:2 ups the ante, saying, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
What law, you ask? The most basic one of all, as Christ tells us in John 15:12 — “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
This was why Jesus took human form to begin with, as John 3:16-17 reminds us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him..”
Of course my presence in and of itself will save no one, no matter whether I number among the wise or fools… but like this rose, if I can reflect His beauty and love upon those I meet, perhaps someone may see His light.
So perhaps risking an occasional barb or insult is worth it. As Matthew 5:16 tells us, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”