A Lesson on Gracious Shepherding and Earnest Learning from a Hydrangea

There once was a man who picked some hydrangea’s for his lovely bride, pink, purple, and blue.  The bride, whose name was “Simplicity,” loved these flowers in and of themselves.  The husband, let’s name him, “Complexity,” desired for her to see still more.  Complexity thought to himself, “I do want her to think harder, consider longer, and have her affections righty turned to God by the gift of this hydrangea.”  Thus, the desire mounting, he said to Simplicity, “have you considered my service of love in picking you these hydrangea’s?”  And “what should we see in such service but the intent of the heart?”  And “have you understood that my intention was much more complex than the simplicity which your disposition allows: thus, in these flowers I wanted you to see my love for you; in this gift I desired you to behold my service, and by this, the work and love of Christ laboring in me to you; and following still this much, that you would in turn praise God for God, and for Christ, and for His labor in me, and for the service of love rendered to you that you might take all of these things to heart, simply by meditating on these lovely hydrangea’s.”  Simplicity replied with little more consideration, “Yeah, but I am content with the flowers in isolation from the rest.”  Complexity, now disheartened, responded, “My dear, but there is so much more!”  And his labors in grace continued.

Sadly, this is the commentary of many labors in the church.  Many who propose that they know Christ are unfortunately satisfied with little more than the bare essentials, and have no desire to move beyond simplicity into the vast array of glorious treasures which undergird, explain, and further ground, promote, clarify, and defend those simple and good assertions of truth.  The servant-leader, the shepherd of the local flock has been gifted of God and affirmed by the local congregation to do just this: shepherd; and shepherding involves moving the flock from one place to another in both faith and practice.  It is extremely discouraging when individuals for whom the shepherd burns with the fires of discipleship and an incarnational ministry that aims at the transformation of particular souls (as they are led to gaze upon the glory of Christ), (those individuals) respond, “I am fine with what I know; I’ll leave the depth of the Scriptures to you, for it is burdensome to me.”  I pray that God will grant all of His children the grace and endurance to persevere in the growth of both knowledge and grace; that simpletons will be moved to a heart of biblical discovery and grandiose visions of Christ; that we all might be inclined to be drenched with the simple truths of the Gospel and, equally, the great depths of the Gospel that cannot be fathomed or plumbed; and that we would understand that things which are too great for us are not things which we should not pursue, but the opposite, that God actually calls us to pursue the knowledge of them – for He is gracious in growing us through humility, and strengthening our hearts, faith, and love for the day of suffering.  I pray that God will grant to His church the inclination to dig down deep; only such earnest digging will result in the discovery of pure and eternal gold.  May shepherds be steadfast and slow to be discouraged in the task, and their brothers and sisters in Christ earnest to learn of and follow Christ unto glory.  Let us all learn from the existence of the hydrangea, that there is much more that God desires us to taste and see.

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