Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Morning Glories Flourish, Instruct

Each fall, a cascade of morning glories tumbles over the corrugated metal fence at our church building in Rostov-on-Don.

These blossoms are so beautiful and they beckon us come closer. Okay, we're zooming, we're zooming on in.

What a rich, deep blue. Simply breathtaking.

New growth coming along. The future's looking good.

From blossom to bud, here's the whole life cycle. Some blooms are in full glory, others past their prime and fading. But oh, the new growth. The buds are there, one with a hint of color, eager to open.

I've been thinking lately about new growth as it applies to ministry. Interacting with fresh faces who want to serve comes with joys and challenges. The goal of missions is that of working oneself out of a job. No news there. That's easily said but when a newby marches in, openly critical of those who have been there for the long haul, that's not easy to take. I pray for wisdom to be gracious, to take a step or two into the background and ask how I can be supportive versus critical. How I can others to grow and flourish even while they're blossoming. When my help, experience, support is needed although someone might not recognize or particularly value it.

The cycle of developing, blooming and fading is part of life. It's lots of fun to be on the upward slope, moving on to promising opportunities and challenges. But as time speeds past, I find myself working through some new challenges. These morning glories are a good illustration. There's something admirable in the flower that blooms and blossoms but then is willing to let others do the same when their time comes, not clinging to a role, to a ministry, to an area of service, not grasping to dominate. Similar in some ways to the pruning process.

Please share your thoughts, experiences...What has helped you to be gracious to the know-it-all rookie? =) Or perhaps you have been one, yourself. Gotta admit, there have been more times than I'd like admit that I've been in that very spot, myself.

1 comment:

Jeanette said...

Your analogy really spoke to my heart today. I'm sure I've been both the over-anxious newbie and the don't-change-a-thing oldie. But the picture of the morningglory bush says so much about the Body of Christ. We need the blossoms to show people the beauty of Jesus. We also, of course, need growth! And what about the wilted blooms...what of them? I'm not a botonist, so maybe my thought goes a bit awry...but generally in nature, a "dead" flower actually holds the seeds for new life. In the natural state, gardeners don't pinch the faded blooms. They drop to the soil or are blown by the breeze to start new plants. Is that not what God hopes for us as disciples...to go?