I saw a poinsettia today; a left over from Christmas. It’s still very vibrant, red, and healthy looking.
All because someone takes the time to continue watering it.
Meanwhile, at the nursing home in which I work, I’ve seen many poinsettias that aren’t doing so well. Wilting, defoliated, and scraggly. Nobody seems to have the time to keep watering those ones. It doesn’t seem to be anyone’s job: The nursing staff (including me) is too busy taking care of the residents, the doctors are too busy diagnosing, the housekeeping department is too busy making beds and mopping floors, the activities department is too busy planning events and scheduling outings…. and these beautiful, vibrant plants are left by the wayside, ignored, left to fend for themselves; to die for lack of water, and are eventually thrown into the trash.
It only takes a mere minute to pour a cup of water into the planter from time to time to keep the plant happy and alive.
And I can’t help but think that people are a lot like these forgotten poinsettias.
When you “water”, “cultivate” and care for someone they grow vibrant, healthy, and strong. Once you begin neglecting the person, they begin to starve, wither, and die both emotionally and spiritually. This is the major reason that divorce is rampant, homeless people waste away, and suicides are on the rise. Being cast aside makes some take solace in drugs and alcohol, street gangs, and adultery.
Although no singular person can possibly be responsible for everyone in the world, each of us can do our part to water and cultivate someone in our lives. Is it our individual responsibility to take care of people in that regard?
According to Scripture, we are to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Jesus even illustrated the importance of helping one another — even strangers — in His parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
People are poinsettias: Richly coloured, living, breathing beings that need to be cared for. And if we take a moment to think, I’m sure each of us can identify at least one person in each of our lives who is dying from lack of watering, Sonlight, and cultivation. The new divorcee next door; the abused kid down the street; the lonely widow in your congregation. Perhaps it’s a colleague who just got “downsized” from his or her job. Or a teenager who just learned she’s pregnant and her boyfriend dumped her.
We all need some watering and love. And, even though we can’t help the entire world, we can at least make a difference in the lives of those whom we do know. “Watering” a person doesn’t take a lot of effort: Invite them to accompany you to a community or church event. Take them out for coffee once each week just to chat. Help them with transportation, or child care, or yard work. Mentor them, attend support groups with them. Get involved, even just a little bit.
A simple cup of water on a regular basis is all it take to keep a poinsettia alive and healthy; and a simple act of kindness and caring on a regular basis is all it takes to keep a person alive and healthy.
And above all, share the love of Jesus with such ones, as He is the best strength for their weakened state.
Peace, and Amen.