Driving home from the mill, Neil spots a purple grove approx. fifty yards ahead. “I have no idea what kind of flowers those are,” he muses, “but purple is Trisha’s favorite color.” Thinking his wife will be pleased to receive a hand full of purple-whatevers, he pulls over and yanks up a fitting bouquet. As he choose each individual flower, Neil imagines the delight Trisha will have in receiving his gift. The thought is motivation enough to search for brighter pedals and ignore the puzzled onlookers parked across the street for Wednesday prayer meeting. Twelve minutes and a dirt road later, Neil happily gives and Trisha happily receives.
Nine months later, Walter is born.
What if I told you that Neil gave his wife flowers in order to demonstrate how great of a florist he is? Does that seem realistic? You can imagine the exchange: “Trisha, this is proof that I am a capable flower-picker.” She laughs half-heartedly, “You aren’t serious, are you?” The bouquet is a sight for sore eyes – maybe sorer ones. Half the stems are broken off and the ones remaining are sweaty. Each flower lacks a pedal or two, and the five on top are smooshed because Neil hit that hill again which sent his right hand into the top of the Chevy.
Neil certainly has no reason or desire to boast in his ability to pick and deliver flowers. He is a florist by merit of handling flowers, but he is quite a pitiful one. The truth, of course, is that Neil gave his wife flowers because she brings him great joy. Trisha was the motivation for the floral work. Neil was only interested in the bouquet insofar as it served a greater purpose: pleasing his wife.
Obeying Christ to Please Christ
Every Christian is a florist. Our purple-whatevers are called “good works” (Ephesians 2:10). We are florists by merit of doing good works. The opportunity to snatch some of these from the soil beside the road is too sweet to pass up, not because we think ourselves decent do-gooders, but because we want to please Christ. The glory of His perfections propels the labor of our hands.
We long for the day when, beholding His glory, we lift up our sweaty, smooshed bouquet of righteous deeds. Oh how pitiful it will appear! So many missing pedals and awkwardly hidden stems – but we florists will joyfully offer our corsages. “For You, my bridegroom!”
Our motivation to obey is not to prove ourselves righteous, but to please Christ. We do all things for Christ, by Christ, through Christ, and in Christ. Our hearts are so abounding with affections for Him that fifteen minute drives home become forty-five minute excursions to choose the brightest pedals. “The look on His face when He sees this! How happy He will be, and I in Him!”
And God’s face will smile upon our beaten bundle because God’s righteousness is satisfied with Christ’s splendid bouquet. In Christ’s perfect obedience, our stumbling obedience is a pleasing aroma to the Father.
So rejoice, beloved of God – if indeed you know yourself to be a clumsy, happy florist.