Geranium

Plastic, or real?

“This is the kind of flower that grows best for me.” My mother-in-law was referring to the plastic geraniums in a clay pot beside her front door. Those were the days before the new “silk” flowers, which are now made of polyester, which had the soft texture of their real-life counterparts.

Muriel liked the plastic flowers because she could use them year after year. Of course, they might look a little more faded and yellow the third or fourth time around, but she felt good she was saving money.

She insisted that she kills the “other kind,” meaning the real plants. She worked a full day and kept an immaculate house, and cooked real food instead of eating out. No wonder she didn’t have time for flowers! I must admit my housekeeping suffers from neglect as I choose garden chores over vacuuming.

My husband and I continued to be repulsed by the obvious counterfeit quality of the orange eyesores at the doorstep of his old home.

Plastic. The word itself screams “cheap and tacky.” I refuse to use plastic forks and spoons when we have guests, unless the crowd is so large that I would run out of my mismatched flatware.

The same goes for drinking glasses. “Red Solo cup” is something I fill up with dirt and a plant, not a beverage. I will wash the glasses later, thank you. I don’t like plastic.

When it comes to our faith, it seems that many of us actually prefer plastic.

It’s cheap. A faith that doesn’t cost you much in terms of time, energy, or change in lifestyle is very appealing.

It’s reusable and disposable, as one wishes. A plastic faith can be taken out every Sunday without any bothersome maintenance in between. Then, whenever the appeal fades, it can be tossed aside. How many people do you know who said they used to go to church, but are tired of it?

One has to wonder if a “plastic faith” is as odious to God as the plastic flowers are to us. He certainly didn’t ask for a church that was cheap. The blood of his own Son was the price paid.

He didn’t ask for a love that’s disposable. His love isn’t.

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 107:1, NASB).

While we may grumble under the chore of maintaining a Christian lifestyle, God’s care continues day by day – even second by second. He keeps watch over us and cares for us even as we sleep.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

The Lord has promised not to cast us away if he tires of us, as if we were only plastic decorations compared to his own glory and honor. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).

However, he allows us free will to choose to remain in him or to turn away of our own volition.

“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned” (John 15:6).

We can treat our religion, our faith, our worship as if it were nothing more than disposable, cheap, ultimately worthless plastic. But God is living, active, and loves us more fiercely than we can even imagine. God is real.

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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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