by Christine Berglund
You will find me using the word “favorite” quite often when it comes to flowers. I’m not fickle, really; it’s just that the one that happens to be blooming at the moment gets all the love and attention.
Recently I had to replace my “favorite” roses, a hedge of beautiful double red Knockout roses lining my front walk. It was a little sad for me, I must confess. The new Lorapetalums should do well there, and they won’t succumb to Rose Rosette disease. They show promise of becoming a “favorite” already, with their pretty rounded purple leaves and graceful habit. However, it was very hard to let the roses go.
Isaac and Rebekah played favorites with their children, and it didn’t work well for anyone. It resulted in lies, trickery, and one of the sons fleeing to a faraway place. We need to learn from this heartbreaking story to not play favorites with our children.
The roses may not have been saved from disease even if had I given them extra care, but I still feel a little guilty. The truth is that this corner garden was a little bit more neglected than the back yard beds. Some of the newer plantings got more attention. In a way, this is similar to what happens when a new baby comes into the family. It might be a good thing to shower extra attention on the older children so that they don’t feel less important than the new bundle of joy.
There are not very many expensive or exotic plants in our yard, but when we do acquire them, they are treated with the utmost honor and deference. They are the first plants watered and fertilized, they get covered up when frost is expected. Other nearby plants are often cut down or moved so that the favored plant can be enjoyed better.
This reminds me of what happened in the early church; indeed it unfortunately happens in our time. “Do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and to the poor person, ‘You stand over there,’ or ‘Sit on the floor'”? (James 2:3, NET).
The zinnias are not going to have their feelings hurt if they are moved so that the brugmansia can have a better place of honor. But if we favor the most influential and best-dressed among us in church, we are clearly violating God’s commands as well as Christ’s clear example.
It is my goal to let each of my children think he or she is my favorite when I spend time with each individually. In truth, that’s when each one is my “favorite.”
My Christian brothers and sisters also need to know that I love them more than they expect. We should surprise the people around us with how much we can shower love on them! Nobody should feel like a lowly zinnia that is to be moved in favor of a “better” plant; and when we part, it should feel like saying goodbye to my roses.