As a young girl, I don’t know how many times my mom scolded us for picking the “pretty flowers” from her squash and zucchini plants. I think they look a little bit like lilies when they open and possess such a beauty of their own. We also liked to eat them! We would dip the flowers in batter and fry them. It’s my understanding that you can also stuff them with a favorite filling to enjoy them. What kid can resist that! But my mom had an excellent reason for preventing our harvest of flowers. If we picked them, the fruit wouldn’t grow, and, alas, no squash would make its way to the family table.
While this may seem elementary to veteran gardeners, I’ve discovered that the fruit develops AFTER the blossom in most vegetables. I have beautiful flowers of different sizes growing not only on my squash but on my tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, as well. Isn’t it just like the Lord to make the growth process beautiful?
I find that the same is true spiritually, too. Often we see a pretty flower growing from our lives or that of others, and the temptation to pick that blossom is difficult to resist. We want to display it in a vase on the table for others to enjoy, but it quickly dies, never fulfilling its true purpose. The purpose of the blossom is to bear fruit, and interestingly the flower must die on the vine for fruit to grow.
Jesus explained the seed dying in John 12:24, which states, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” The same is true of the flowers. Unless it dies on the vine, it will not bear fruit. I have some flowers that have fallen away from the vine, and I will never get any fruit from them. They wither away in the heat and absorb into the ground.
We, too, must die attached to the vine. Only in relationship to Christ can our lives bear the fruit. In reality, our entire Christian life is a cycle of living to die. Once the fruit develops, it is picked for consumption, and the seeds are retained to die once more and bring forth another harvest. Jesus said it this way: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).
You see, it doesn’t matter if you are a seed in a packet with a pretty picture on it or a blossom on a branch. If you don’t die to yourself, you will never fulfill your true purpose of glorifying God by bearing fruit. John 15:8 recounts Jesus’ statement, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” It’s time to do some self-examination and question in what ways we have prevented ourselves from bearing fruit. It’s time to die.
Father, I want to glorify You, and You have made it clear that can only happen as I die to self. I want to remain attached to You, Lord Jesus, and in doing so bear much fruit for the Kingdom. Today, I choose to die in every area I have refused to give You. You deserve all of me, not just the parts I feel comfortable releasing to Your care. Holy Spirit, reassure me that as I die, You will increase my fruitfulness, and life will abound in because You are a loving and faithful gardener, tending to me and all I entrust to Your care. I ask in Jesus’ Name, amen.