“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.” — Titus 3:14
Have you ever had a day when you felt like a dandelion?
Dandelions are common. They hug the ground. They corrupt a perfect lawn. They’re hard to get rid of, and you want to get rid of them!
I feel that way sometimes. I’m very common, very low, corrupt perfection, and I’m hard to get rid of and sometimes, yes, sometimes I feel like I’d like to escape from being myself! Maybe the gray skies have something to do with the mood of the day, but sometimes life just feels very insignificant–very dandelion-y.
My heart has always felt strangely warmed toward the dandelion. Little by little, it keeps working its way into my thinking.
When I was a child, I loved to blow on the little white seed-balls and watch the seeds float away. We’d make a wish and then watch them fly! We picked and picked and had great fun with God’s creation. I taught my own children the simple pleasures of dandelion-wishing and those memories are precious to me now.
Dandelions are, I have noticed, one of the cheeriest expressions of the rites of spring. Their cheerful little button faces, all sunshiny yellow, are first signs that spring is on the way. I would be tempted to plant them myself, if I weren’t wanting such socially-acceptable lawn perfection. Dandelions cheer me. They really do.
During our homeschooling years, my children and I did a grand study of edible plants, which I called our “Ditch Dinners”.* Did you know that dandelion leaves are great in salads, or cooked? It’s jagged-toothed leaves gives it its name: dent-de-lion (lion’s tooth). The leaves and stem are the most potent and can heal warts, stings and sores. They can also be used for skin toner.
It packs a vitamin punch, too! This herb is rich in potassium, calcium, and lecithin “with iron, magnesium, phosphorus,…” and a host of other vitamins and minerals. You can make dandelion tea that is very helpful for anemia and may be used as a safe diuretic. I just today learned that the root can be used as a coffee substitute. The lovely yellow floral color has also been used for dying wool. The dandelion really does have a job to do in this world, after all!*
A Day’s Dandelion Lesson
This weekend, I walked through my neighborhood while chatting with a friend on the phone. The profusion of mounded rows of vari-colored azaeleas and snow-burdened dogwoods had me stopping the conversation to snap a photo.
Along the sidewalk, I passed a lonely little globular dandelion seedhead. By that time I had finished my conversation with my friend and was on my way home. I had some time to think. It stood and waved its proud little stem in the gentle, cool breezes. I was impressed, and thought once about snapping a picture of it as it seemed compositionally promising; but I negated that thought and walked on.
Then something pulled me back and I stopped in my tracks. “Nope. Don’t waste time, it’s just a dandelion….Wait….yes, …..there’s something there.” I backed up to where it was growing between the sidewalk and the paved street.
“Look at the fruit, the gentleness, the quiet humility. The very commonness of this little flower,…this is a gift.”
What I saw was a seedhead fully-orbed with fruitfulness. One puff of the wind and its little duty would be done. It had cheerily invited a pollen-bearing visitor in its “youth” and had now come to full maturity.
And there it was …. TRANSFORMED UNTO FRUITFULNESS. It was no longer a button-yellow flower, it had completely changed, perfect in God’s plan. My little dandelion was an act of God.
ALL God’s creation is good in His divine plan. Though sin has entered our world and polluted the expression of His plan, His plan is never lost. Quietly, my dandelion was telling me this.
From Dandelion to Me and You
You and I may not like the seeds that would fly away from that little dandelion into the yards of other unsuspecting homeowners. It’s sturdy, hairy taproots can reach 1.5 feet into the ground, entrenching it into the soil to re-grow another day if its roots are not completely eliminated! But that day, God used the humble of this world, this little ground flower also called an “Irish daisy”, to teach me a very comforting lesson.
I am being transformed. I do not look the same as I did when I was younger with a different role in life to play. I do not show up in grand profusion as other flowers do. But there is always a role to play in God’s perfect plan for our lives. There is fruitfulness that comes from that Resurrection-yellow button flower. It is my Father’s plan that His work in me scatters to the four winds so that the world can be filled with little fruiting dandelions of hope and eternal life.
Paul taught Titus to stay with these Cretans, these roughly-hewn new believers whose former reputation was less than savory (“liars” Paul says). Paul, though, called these precious Cretans “our people”. He owned them as his own, as Christ owns each of us in humble love.
Then Paul tells what is expected of these dandelion believers: they should learn to keep applying themselves to good deeds. It is a process. This was, it appears, to be a hard lesson for them and a continual one.
The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) (www.BibleGateway.com) further explains this “good” to be honest labor and honorable employment. The simple reason was that they would then be able to “meet necessary demands, whenever the occasion may require and not be living idle and uncultivated and unfruitful lives.”
These are not grand expectations! Anyone can make it their ambition to lead a quiet life, minding our own business and working with our own hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11). This is doable and it is all that is asked of the Cretans.*
The beauty of the dandelion is its very commonness; its usefulness is the health that it brings as it recycles nutrients in the soil and for human consumption. But its glory is its fruitfulness. For these purposes it grows.
The beauty and usefulness of the new believer and even us old ones, is much the same. There is beauty in low places, and there is healthfulness if we’re willing to see it and make use of it.
But oh, the fruitfulness, the glory of giving and giving for nothing in return, and of leaving legacies in this world of a sure and eternal Hope in Christ! The very spring-rich aspect of dandelions that give our rushed and perfectionist hearts a grind is the very simple beauty we enjoyed as children (Matthew 18:3): the miracle of simply fruitful life.
I hope you have a wonderful week this week. Look for dandelions this week and give a few a puff; better yet, share one with a child this week and recapture the wonder! When you see their little yellow heads, remember the Resurrection promise we have in Christ:
“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”– Revelation 21:5
God bless you!
- The name does not imply that we actually eat edible plants that grow in the ditches. These samples will be polluted if they are found by a well-trafficked roadside or drainage canal. But most edible plants can be found in these byways.
- Information about dandelions from “Dandelion”, from Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 2005, The Gale Group, Inc., at http://www.encyclopedia.com. I’ve made dandelion tea and have had the leaves in salads and cooked. Do good research before attempting the ingestion of ground plants! Be sure to harvest from non-pesticide-treated sources.
- I find it more than interesting that dandelions are imports from Greece. Dandelions are little Cretans! According to our listed source, you can thank the colonists for importing this official medicinal herb to North America. Well, you can thank them or curse them, but I think the idea was God’s!
While it isn’t a worship song, I hope you will be cheered and enjoy this old Southern song from Ricky Skaggs, “A Simple Life”, uploaded by tomtscotland, Jun 15, 2007. [YouTube; 3:12 min.]. This one is a jam session with Ricky Skaggs and Aly Bain. Getch’yer dancin’ shoes on and celebrate today! 😀
“Soften My Heart Lord” by Deborah Ann, October 19, 2016. You may enjoy this poem on being “simply fruitful” from Deborah Ann. Deborah posts beautiful photos of the Psalms and offers her own poetry on her website at https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com.