The Parable of the Leaf Stalks
A few days ago, millions of us around the world celebrated Resurrection Sunday—a time to rejoice, remembering how Jesus raised Himself from the dead—defeating death, freeing us from slavery to sin, and proving that He really is God Who came as a man to restore our relationship with Him.
While I always love this holiday because of what it signifies, I’ll admit this year didn’t feel as joyous for me as other years have, mainly because our loved ones all live far away, and we were alone. Plus, I’d hurt my foot, Tom had a bad cold, and neither of us had slept well.
But, as I sat at home later, tempted to feel sorry for myself for all and who I was missing, the Lord reminded me of three things: 1)The significance of Easter/Resurrection Sunday hadn’t diminished due to temporary circumstances; 2) How much better off I am now because I’ve entered into His Resurrection life (otherwise, why celebrate at all?); 3) The wonderful baptism of 12 church members, we’d just celebrated (8 youth and 4 adults, including one in her late 80s!); 4)Other reasons to be thankful-- for ex., most the people we miss are still alive and we all have good relationship with each other (that’s huge!); and I wasn’t alone—I had Tom with me, and of course the Lord Himself!
After the baptism, lasting until late afternoon, one lady in our church gave me a small bouquet of leaf-stalks and a flower wrapped in cellophane. I thanked her, noticing that the two light-green, soft-leaf stalks looked even droopier than I felt (picture limp leaves of lettuce after they’ve sat out all day). At that point, I identified with those two! When we got home, I put the whole bouquet into a vase, filled it with water, and added some plant food. The two droopy stalks were a sad sight to behold, but I just didn’t have the heart to throw them out, and figured, “hey, they’re not totally dead yet, and deserve a chance too.”
The next morning, I came down to breakfast, glanced over at the vase on my way to the kitchen, and beheld a wondrous surprise-- those two light-green, soft-leaved stalks standing up straight, tall, and healthy amongst their “associates”. I could even imagine each one smiling, as if to say, “Hey, thanks for not giving up on me!”
A vase, water, plant food, fresh air, and a tender hand to put them there— in other words, nurture. Which led to two limp, droopy, plant stalks reviving and adding to the beauty of our home. Also adding to the faith and joy in my spirit/heart, knowing the Lord had a parable in it for me and others. And, like those leaf-stalks, He had revived me too!
How often do we droop in despondency due to stressful circumstances, rejection, etc., sapping the life out of us? Or perhaps we’ve been beaten down by lack of affirming relationships, unhealthy environments, denied opportunities, and other spirit oppressors. Like plants, we need nurture. A good dwelling place (the vase), a wholesome environment (clean water), healthy sustenance for nourishment and growth (water and plant food), space and grace to grow and thrive (fresh air), and someone to believe in and care for us. While we can’t always control our physical circumstances, we can find our spiritual home in Him (Ps. 84:1-4), partake of His living water (Jn. 4:13-14), feed on His Word (1 Pet. 2:2), breathe in His constant, unwavering, love (Rom. 8:38-39), and receive assurance of our significance to and in Him (1 Pet. 2:9). Thank God for the parable of the leaf stalks, and His redemptive, reviving, power through nurture!