Collect them all!

by Christine Berglund

The command to “collect them all” seems to be a rallying cry for every new toy on the market.

Micro Machines was the addiction of choice for my boys when they were little. The packages had this slogan on all of them, and the boys eagerly tried to comply, even though they knew our meager budget would not allow them to reach such a fantastic goal.

So it is with my beloved plants. It’s true. “My name is Christine, and I’m a plant addict. “ These could be my opening statement at a support group, if only we plant addicts would take time out for group meetings.

Today, reading the scriptures, I found a feeble justification for my addiction. Don’t mock me yet; there is some merit in this, so hear me out.

“God planted a garden toward the East, in Eden” (Genesis 2:8 NASB). Then shortly following in verse 9; “out of the ground God caused every plant to grow that is pleasing to the sight and good for food…”

God planted a garden. So did I. That’s natural, isn’t it? God planted every plant. Wouldn’t it be natural, for someone who wants to become more like God, to want every plant?

I admire God’s handiwork, and love the variety of plants he has created. His work in the intricate designs he used in botanical life fascinate me. It gives me a tiny sense of being a bit of a mini-creator in putting together a garden with these wonderful plants.

After all, God told Adam to tend the garden that he himself created, and I’m just continuing the tradition. After the ground was cursed with thorns and weeds, gardens tend to look very messy without a human tending them.

The beauty of each individual plant stands on its own. However, if it is placed well in a landscape, it can be absolutely stunning. God intended for mankind to tend and keep the earth, and gardens in particular.

Of course all this doesn’t give me license to “collect them all.” I don’t run a Botanical Center. There has to be a happy medium between enthusiasm for God’s creation and sheer horticultural greed. There are other “collections” which are much more valuable.

“ Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:5 – 7 ).

I love how this verse starts with one virtue, and then builds as the Christian collects them all.

There comes a point where we have to stop ourselves from being like the unwise farmer who decided to tear down his barns and build bigger barns.

There are far more important things than collecting plants, plates, cars, or coins. While I joke about being addicted to plants, there really are people who will ignore the important things in life to pursue a hobby. That would be grounds for an intervention if I ever lost control like that!

Last weekend I attended a plant swap, and I am relieved to say I gave away a lot more plants than I collected. While we keep our hobbies under control, it is wise to collect the Christian virtues that are outlined for us in the Bible.

Collect them all!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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