FIRST-PERSON: Blooming blessings
PENSACOLA, Fla. (BP) -- When our children were small, we'd stop by the garden store each spring to select packets of zinnia seeds to plant outdoors. We'd wait in amazement as big, colorful blooms began to appear.
Then we'd watch for opportunities to use the flowers in ministry. Just as another bloom would appear, a need seemed to arise -- a troubled neighbor, a discouraged acquaintance, a child with a broken arm, a friend in the hospital -- and we'd share a flower.
Whether you have a rose garden, hydrangeas, or a favorite local florist, it's remarkable how a simple flower can provide a tangible reminder of His love. Why not use God's lovely creation to minister in His name? Try some of these fresh ideas.
-- Prepare cards with a Scripture, and attach with a ribbon to gift flowers. Handwrite a note: "This flower's from my garden! Remember that God loves you and so do I. Get well soon."
-- Collect inexpensive bud vases. Clip a couple of flowers, add a green sprig from a bush, and you've got a personal gift for a friend.
-- Help your child deliver a flower to a teacher, school nurse, grandparent, dentist, librarian, postal carrier or sick friend.
-- Make tiny vases of flowers for the ladies' restroom counters at church on Sundays.
-- For long-term illness, deliver a few flowers in a vase, and assign different church members to bring an additional flower or two to add to the bouquet each day.
-- Recycle altar flowers. Divide them into bouquets and deliver to sick, homebound, hospitalized or nursing home members or friends.
-- Present a bouquet of her favorite flower to your Bible teacher, minister's wife or church administrative assistant on her church anniversary or birthday.
-- Allow green-thumbed church members to help with church landscape. Host an annual garden party to prune and plant, or organize a group of flower-lovers to meet Saturdays for an hour's work.
-- Your small group could plant flowers for homebound members or elderly church neighbors.
-- Plant bulbs at a local nursing home, hosting a spring tea or hymn-sing when they bloom.
-- Enhance a church buffet dinner with wildflowers, garden flowers and vines from your yard.
-- Does your church deliver Bibles to homes in your community? Add a flower. On delivery days, bring stemmed flowers or wildflowers, and deliver one with each Bible. Print 1 Peter 1:24-25 as a reminder that flowers fade, but God's Word remains forever.
-- Do a "God Cares" project for neighbors within a few blocks of your church. Prepare notes about how much God cares about them, quoting Luke 12:28 (NLT). Participants bring lots of cut flowers, tie them with twine, and deliver to neighbors with an invitation to worship.
So clip some wild sunflowers, prune your roses, or visit your florist. And as you admire God's beautiful creation of flowers, watch carefully for ways to use them to honor Him. I'm planting zinnias again this spring with my little grandson, and thanking God in anticipation of sharing His creations.