I do not have a green thumb. In fact, I end up killing just about anything green that comes anywhere near my house. I appreciate those who do love to garden however, and I deeply admire the beauty of the flora around me. One of my favorite things that just happen to grow in my yard is a rose bush right at the top of my driveway. (This bush is in existence due to the care from past generations- it unfortunately gets zip from me).
Allow me to share something that I learned about what it takes to make one American Beauty Rose.
I’ll quote Mrs. Charles Cowman, referenced in the devotional “Women in Leadership”.
“It takes a thousand buds to make one American Beauty rose, consequently nine hundred and ninety-nine of them must be suppressed. Disbudding consists in removing the buds before they have time to grow into young branches. It is a species of pruning which has for its object not only training but also economy in regard to the resources of a tree, in order that there may be a greater supply of nourishment for the development of those buds which are allowed to remain. If the roots are capable of absorbing only a given quantity of nutritive matter for the supply of all the buds upon a stem, and if a number of those buds be removed, it must be evident that those which remain will be able to draw a greater supply of sap and grow more vigorously than they otherwise would have done. This fact has furnished the idea of disbudding. It has been proved that a judicious thinning of the buds after they have been unfolded in spring is a great utility. ”
That takes incredible dedication on behalf of the gardener and a great deal of time and growth for the rose. Picture our Heavenly Father as the ultimate gardener…
I mean, just look at this place! Not only does He prune and cultivate the natural world around us, but He treats us as precious flowers as well.
Look at John 15:1-11
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
If we ever want to become excellent in whatever it is we do, we have to get rid of the extra “buds” AKA: junk (the stuff that does not amount to anything in God’s eyes) and focus on the things we know He has called us to. This does not mean that we are never to take vacations, play, or have hobbies. It does mean, however, that we have to make sure there is enough time and energy at the forefront to put into our calling, so it is evident that IT IS OUR CALLING.
We cannot claim to be a teacher if we never open a book and we cannot claim to be an artist if we never practice the craft. We don’t need to be an Aristotle or a da Vinci in order for God to be pleased. He simply wants each one of us to do our best and be our best; not settling for “good enough”. Neglecting our own growth and not working our hardest at what God has called us to, is not good enough. It isn’t good enough for God, and it should not be good enough for you or me.
We have to dis-bud our lives of the unnecessary extras in order to bloom into the roses that we were destined to become. My encouragement to you is this: never settle, never give up on yourself, and always remember that Christ didn’t save you so you could just survive- He wants you to LIVE abundantly for Him. Christ died to give you life abundantly… we can only enjoy that abundant life when we’re doing the things He wants us to be doing, and not filling the rest of our time with unnecessary distractions.