Thankful for Flowers
Friday - November 20th
Day 20: Attitude of Gratitude
Scripture to Read Today Matthew 6:28-30
I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these (flowers).
During my high school spring breaks and after school in the spring and early summer each year, I worked at Johnson's Greenhouse and Flower Shop on Spring Street in my hometown of Mishawaka, Indiana. Mr. Coffman, the owner of Johnson's Greenhouse, hired me based on a referral from my youth pastor's wife. Brenda had worked at the greenhouse in her high school years and knew Mr. Coffman needed help each spring. I spent the spring break of my freshman year of high school as my first week working there.
At the end of the week, he gave me $40 in cash for forty hours of hard work. As my first real job, it seemed like he had handed me $1,000. I almost felt guilty that he paid me so much for a full week of work. A few years later, I figured out that he paid me cash from the cash register to avoid paying me the minimum wage of $3.35 an hour and reporting it to the government for tax purposes. My pay before taxes should have been $133.40. But I was young, ignorant, and thankful for the two twenty-dollar bills in my pocket.
The greenhouse grew three main staples of flowers and also various other flowers, vegetable plants, and fruit trees. The three central flowers we grew were Easter lilies for the early spring, geraniums for late spring and early summer, and then poinsettias for the holidays. We had thousands of each of these seasonal flowers. Most of my time each year working at the greenhouse focused on the geranium season. I pinched, potted, and watered more geraniums than I wanted to see for the rest of my life!
Mr. Coffman had me move hundreds of wheelbarrows full of dirt to make potting soil each spring. He told me about a young man who worked for him years earlier who was nothing but skin and bones - like me. It seems that hauling all that dirt and carrying long, heavy sleeves of clay pots turned the other guy into a monster high school wrestler. Mr. Coffman seemed disappointed that the same physical workout had done nothing to add weight to my skinny frame or muscles to my bones.
My time in the greenhouse gave me a great appreciation for flowers. They remain a personal reminder to me of God's creative beauty throughout the universe. With the few things I learned working at the greenhouse and flower shop, I have enjoyed growing flowers and bringing home fresh flowers from Costco from time to time.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus pointed to the beauty of flowers growing amidst a field of wild grass as an example of His provision. He taught us that God cares for the flowers and makes sure they are dressed in their beauty; but cares so much more for every one of us. In Matthew 6:29, He describes how beautiful they are. "I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Jesus suggests that the flowers have more radiant glory than one of the wealthiest, best-dressed men to ever live - King Solomon.
Recently I came across a time-lapse video of a sunflower growing from seedling to full maturity. What beauty! Here it is. Enjoy it.
Take time not only to smell the roses but to thank God for the flowers! They demonstrate His creative power and beauty!