Scorched Flowers & Eternal Pursuits

| Maria van den Akker

“If your attitude is to pursue Jesus rather than your own comfort, His kingdom rather than yours, your actions will inevitably be eternal pursuits.”

The rose bushes in front of my townhome bring me so much joy: the beautiful fuchsia flowers, the fragrant aroma floating by the steps as I walk into the house, the petal-confetti strewn throughout our cul-de-sac after a heavy rain. But right around now, when Raleigh hurries a little too quickly into summer, the sun scorches my flowers, as you can see in the picture above. All too soon, they will be gone and the bush will be pruned for next spring.

We can learn so much from nature’s silent speeches.

James 1:9-11 says, “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.”

Those verses come in the context of James challenging his reader previously to “Count it all joy…when you meet trials of various kinds.” I must ask: Do you meet trouble with joy? Or do you see trials as disruptions in your various pursuits? Many of life’s troubles involve finances, for how do we eat, sleep with a roof over our heads, or dress ourselves without a budget? And yet Jesus charges believers in Matthew 6:25, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”Let us remember to “seek first [God’s] Kingdom and His righteousness” as we who are rich toward Christ fade away. As we return to dust. Let us remember that our pursuits have the option to live beyond us if they are eternal.

Are your pursuits eternal?

Some eternal pursuits are obvious. Showing love is an easy example. Matthew 10:42 says, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Simple acts of service done unto the Lord are eternal pursuits. I remember a poem by Emily Dickenson that I memorized and often repeated as I did laundry for our family of six when I was in high school,

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

If your attitude is to pursue Jesus rather than your own comfort, His kingdom rather than yours, your actions will inevitably be eternal pursuits. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

May you spend the minutes and days of your life doing what the Lord has called you to do, meeting the expectations he sets upon you. Lay up your treasures in heaven and remember that you have enough potential in these twenty-four hours as everyone else in God’s kingdom.

Let the flower fade, but let your pursuits impact eternity.