Last summer I participated in a Photo-a-Day project, and someone told me that this picture of Althea Syriacus was her favorite.
A member of the Mallow family, the Rose of Sharon is a shrub that blooms much of the summer, and seeds itself profusely. Mine was given to me by a fellow gardener. I must have given away a dozen seedlings myself.
In fact, it reproduces itself so well that it is listed as one of Tennessee’s Most Invasive Plants. I was a little dismayed to find out that the pretty Althea was so maligned! It doesn’t seem to be a pest plant to me.
“I am the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valleys” (Song of Solomon 2:1 NASB).
While the experts disagree on whether the term Rose of Sharon should be used to refer to Jesus, many of us have long loved the song, “Jesus, Rose of Sharon.” The song runs through my head when I see this pretty shrub, and the realization of how beautiful Jesus is to me runs through my heart at the same time.
Having this in my garden gives me peace that Jesus is with me and fills my life with beauty and love. I can only hope that Jesus’ beauty, truth, and love adorns my heart as this small tree adorns the corner of my garage, and that I can give joy when others pass by as I have received joy and gladness from this plant by my garden pathway.
The plant’s tendency for proliferation makes us mindful of how easy it is to share Jesus with others.
“The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. And this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32).
Sometimes, I think we make spreading the gospel way too hard.
Recently, I followed the example of someone who talked to a telemarketer about Jesus, and found out how easy and natural it was to do. (I didn’t get the same reaction as the gentleman who was my example, but I did get rid of an annoying call in record time!)
Of course, this is not the preferred method of spreading the gospel, it’s more of an extreme example that demonstrates the multiple opportunities to share the Word.
How many times do we keep silent about our Rose of Sharon just because it seems like it’s not the right time, and let years go by before we really talk with our friends and family? The seeds are plentiful, but we are not allowing them to be scattered. We see the opportunities as we see the tiny trees sprouting in the mulch, but we rake them down because they seem out of place at the time.
This plant, the Rose of Sharon, is prolific. It wants to spread!
Give your baby trees away to other gardeners. Share Jesus whenever the opportunity arises! Do not weed out those stray thoughts of sharing our faith throughout our day. Be generous with the seeds of the gospel — scatter widely!
God bless the growth.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom within my heart!
Beauties of thy truth and holiness impart,
That where e’er I go my life may spread abroad
Fragrance of the knowledge of the love of God.
Jesus, Rose of Sharon, bloom in radiance and in love within my heart!