Cooler weather has once again settled upon the plains and once again the last of my house plants have been brought in to wait out winter beside sunny windows.  My north facing patio is once again almost barren as a few remaining annuals are left to face the coming cold alone.  The south and east side of our wraparound porch now shelters hardy perennials, pots of roses, and a few pots of young trees.

Each year when I move the last of my plants to their winter nests, I am always struck by the abundance. My children always remind me that, yes indeed; I did have that many plants last year.  I usually think of my plants as a beautiful reflection of the nature and glory of God, but as I look today, I am reminded of my sinful desires to obtain and horde; I am reminded of the greed that sometimes takes me unawares. I don’t think of myself as greedy and rarely recognize that sin in my life, but today as I look at the abundance of plants and think about how I nurture, propagate, and collect them all summer, I am reminded of the abundance of me within myself. I am reminded of my sinful desire to hold onto those things that I feel identify me.  I like myself, at least- or perhaps unfortunately – most of the time.

As I look out at my empty back patio I realize how within the larger spaces of my porches and patios I may not notice how many plants I have, and by the same token when I search my heart within the larger mirror of the world, I may not notice how much of self still remains.  But it is not self with which I desire to be filled.  I desire to be filled with more of Christ within me – that eternal hope of glory.  I desire that “as He increases that I decrease.”

Oh it may not be sinful to have lots of plants and I am abundantly blessed with God’s beauty, but as my plants reflect the beauty and nature of God, my prayer is that I will also reflect the beauty and nature of God; that my life is filled with more of Him and less of me, and that as He increases, I decrease.