Did you get roses for Valentine’s Day?

I have a few rose bushes growing in my yard, and last year was an especially great year for them.  I had dozens and dozens of blooms…white, light pink and red.  They kept blooming and blooming.  I plant only “bush” roses, or climbing roses, and I loved watching the green branches growing longer and longer.  By the end of summer, I was able to support a couple of those climbing branches in a maple tree.

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When I was younger, the only “fake flowers” available were those plastic kind and they only looked good from a distance.  If you put them in a vase on your table, everyone knew they weren’t real as soon as they sat down.

Besides the pretend look, they also had no fragrance.

Now when I go into a hobby shop, I find roses that actually have “dew drops” on the leaves and petals, and they look so real that even up close you can be fooled.  Along with all the fragrance-infused oils, the smell of roses can accompany the look!

Artificial flowers are often used in wedding bouquets so the bride can have this keepsake forever.  Wow.  How cool is that?

The thing that makes the distinction between real flowers and fake ones is that a real rose bush will keep reproducing year after year…not only will it bloom, it will flourish with many additional blooms.

Real flowers reproduce.

Fake flowers don’t.

I bring this example to you because we often sit down right beside someone who appears to be a “real Christian.”  They look like one–even close up, and maybe have other attributes that put them in the category of “real.”

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But I would urge you to examine those look-good-forever-folks.  Do they reproduce other Christians from their life?  (I don’t mean they are evangelists.)  I mean there is proof of growth and outreach to others…more blooms show up around them in the form of friends who love to be with them and who also feel new life and joy from their presence.  The “fragrance” of truth will waft through a room and others will find them worth the time to “stop and smell the flowers.”

One of the most encouraging things you will have in your life will be “real” Christians.  They may not be beautiful (like Hybrid Tea Rose Bushes) but they will be growing, reaching, setting new roots and bringing the blooms of joy, love and encouragement to others.

Oh, and real roses have thorns and you can get pricked.  So do real Christians!  We’re not perfect, and we can unintentionally scratch someone…but once we realize we ALL have thorns proving that we ARE real, we can accept one another and “fertilize” one another with encouraging words of grace and growth.

This spring, I hope you plant a rose bush and think about your Christian life each time you see it.  Let’s be real.  Let’s be fragrant.  And let’s be reaching out and growing and producing more blooms every year!

by Cindy Best