A Lesson from the Plant Kingdom
The Dutch are known throughout Europe for their ability to cultivate spectacular flowers. Perhaps we have seen pictures of breathtaking fields in Holland glowing with the colors of the rainbow. Undoubtedly, there is an awesome Creator behind this work of art!
A few years ago, I read that sometimes the Dutch grow roses by planting an inferior rose next to one of superior quality. They remove the anthers of the inferior rose so that it can be fertilized with pollen from the superior one. Eventually, the rose of inferior quality assumes the characteristics of the superior one. This a way of life in the plant kingdom.
This is the way it should also be in the spiritual realm, that is, the church. The superior life of Christ should act in our lives so that it influences us and those around us for good.
We should ask ourselves: are we having a positive or harmful effect on the life of our fellowman? Will he become a rose worthy of reward because of our godly conduct or imitate the characteristics of a hypocritical life?
Salt and Light
In the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:13-16), Jesus teaches us that a good influence preserves the world against spiritual corruption. In Jesus’ day, salt was used for the preservation of meat. Today, for example, Serrano Ham from Spain is cured and preserved with salt. Likewise, God wants to use faithful Christians in the preservation of the world against moral and spiritual decay. But –careful!– there is a warning. If we lose the qualities that make us “salty,” or different from the world, God will have no use for our help. Our efforts will end up doing more harm than good!
Also, Christians should be “light.” Light attracts those who are in darkness. It stands out from everything around it. Without light, people will continue to stumble. Because of their blindness, they will keep on wandering in the darkness. The Christian who does not have a good influence is not light, and because of this, he offers nothing new to lost souls. The unconverted will continue in their sins because the Christian is just like them.
Regarding the matter of influence, the Christian has to take sides. Either he lets the life of Christ act through him or he allows the world to be the catalyst of his influence on others.
Which of the two kinds of influence acts through us?