A New Year like the Hydrangea

Source: Wikipedia

The bigleaf hydrangea is a unique flowering shrub. “If you take the seed of that shrub and plant it in the soil of Indiana, it will yield pink flowers when it blooms. But if you take that same seed and plant it in the soil of Brazil or Poland, it will produce blue flowers. Even more interesting, if you take the same seed and plant it in another type of soil, it will yield purple flowers.” (Source: Frank Viola, “Reimagining Church”) Botanists attribute that strange behavior to the different PH levels of the soils where the hydrangea is planted.

When I read that, I thought, “What a great picture of the New Year!” Every year is one of a kind. Life when it becomes too predictable becomes boring. We heard it so often that the saying became a well-worn cliché but still it is true: “The only thing constant in life is change.” (Someone quipped, “Also taxes and death.”) This year’s blue flower may be next year’s pink flower. For example, what worked for us this 2010 may not work in 2011. What is tried-and-tested now can become trite tomorrow. Yes, definitely there are some things in life that should not be changed. Someone wrote, “Principles are few. Procedures, many. Principles are constant, procedures change.” We are not to change our message but we could and should change our methods when it is called for. Of course, we will not embrace change for change’s sake. We change because God designed life that way. In fact, God balanced constancy and change perfectly: “The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, GNB)

So, we need wisdom to discern what needs to be constant and what needs to change. So, as we face the New Year, draw up a list. (You may use the discussion guide at the back.) Fold a paper into two. On the left side, write the word“Constant” at the top. On the right side, write the word “Change.” Ask yourself: “What are the things that should remain constant in my life?” and “What are those that should change?” For example, under “Constant” you may write, “Commitment to the family.”Write the values that are non-negotiable as far as you are concerned. What are the things that you must continue? Under “Change,” you may write, “Serve in the church. Join a Circle of Care.” What are the things that you must start or stop? Keep in mind that every moment of our lives is actually a fresh opportunity for change from God.

Brethren, think of the hydrangea as we celebrate the New Year!


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