This was my first sunflower to open its face to the sun, and let its beauty shine. This past weekend at our fellowship meeting, my dear friend MH shared with us a few thoughts about sunflowers, which I thought was very timely indeed. At the time that she shared her thoughts comparing sunflowers to a believer's life, my sunflowers were not quite ready to bloom. But, just a day or two later, they pushed their green leaves aside to show their cheery faces.
MH used the illustration of sunflowers to compare a believer's walk with the Lord. There are quite a few characteristics about sunflowers that can be ascribed to a believer's life. Here are some that were mentioned, and I wanted to share them with you, along with some pictures of the sunflowers growing in my garden...
1. Sunflowers always lift their faces to the sun, and no matter where they are planted, they will turn to face the east. Always. It doesn't matter if you've planted them in a northern area, they will grow and turn in such a way so as to face east.
Just as sunflowers are eagerly lifting their heads to the east, so we as believers must follow the direction of the SON, who is Jesus. No matter where we are planted, so long as we look to the SON we will be able to continue our growth as Christians.
2. Sunflowers don't like to be transplanted. They love it best when the seeds are planted directly into the ground where they are intended to grow.
|This picture was taken the end of June! The sunflowers have done a lot of growing in July!|
3. Sunflowers aren't fussy about the soil they are planted in, they can grow just about anywhere, as long as they can face the sun.
4. As sunflowers grow, their bottom leaves begin to yellow, wither, crumble, and fall off.
This is because now that the plant is sturdy and strong, the plant begins to put all its efforts into its bloom and to produce fruit (seeds), and therefore the less needed part of the plant is allowed to die off in order to put all effort into the fruit.
Which is a wonderful illustration in the life of the believer. At first, as we are young, vibrant, learning and growing, there is no pruning taking place. But, as we grow older, taller, and more mature, there are things that we once thought so necessary, that now are no longer necessary, and must be pruned away in order to put all our efforts into producing fruit. And as believers, when we are young in the faith, pruning would hurt, or perhaps even kill us. But, as we mature and grow, and become stronger as we face the SON, we are able to accept pruning, and recognize it is a necessary thing in order to produce the fruit we greatly desire. Perhaps this is the most difficult lesson of all that the sunflower teaches us. Pruning, or cutting away of things that we think are necessary, is never an easy process. It is often painful, sorrowful, and difficult. BUT, if our faces are turned to the SON during the process, this becomes our strength, and the pruning process is not so bad. But if our faces droop, and we become focused perhaps on things around us, instead of facing and looking to our Savior Jesus... it could suck the very life blood from us, and cause us to fall over, and wilt away.
4. One sunflower can produce up to 2000 seeds! Not just one fruit, not just one seed... but up to 2000!
What an amazing thing that is! If we turn our faces to the SON and focus our attention on Him, then our lives can bring forth fruit, much fruit... much more so than if we were focused on anything else around us. Only when our lives are focused and facing the SON, then we are able to produce fruit beyond number.
5. Sunflowers produce a very healthy oil from their seeds. This website, www.sunflowernsa.com gives more information about sunflower oil, and says "Sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance and supplies more Vitamin E than any other vegetable oil. It is a combination of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels. The versatility of this healthy oil is recognized by cooks internationally. Sunflower oil is valued for its light taste, frying performance and health benefits." Check out the link if you'd like to learn more about sunflower oil.
Just as sunflowers produce a very healthy oil, so we as believers can allow the oil of the spirit to shine through our lives, keeping us healthy and vibrant.
These are just a few of the similarities found in sunflowers that can also be found in the lives of the believer. Why don't you visit this website, and learn more about this amazing plant that is native to our American soil, and see if you can come up with any more similarities between this beautiful plant, and the life of a believer?!