Standing out from the crowd- Look, See, Pray

Dahlia “Smartie.”

I do love a bit of colour. Something bold, brash and beautiful. If you take a tour of my garden you’ll see all sorts of flowers. Hot reds, vivid orange, yelping yellows. One favourite this year is this Dahlia, “Smartie,” which has white flowers, a bright golden centre, and an irregular number of purple petals. It might be one, it might be five, with no apparent reason why the purple is distributed differently. I love it: “Smartie” really stands out from the crowd.

Some may find it too brash, even vulgar! Orderly minds might shrink back, hissing “It shouldn’t do that! Has it no respect for the RULES?”

I like to think that Jesus might use it as a teaching aid… You may remember he spoke about a “city on a hill” that can’t be hidden, and the pointlessness of “lighting a lamp and sticking it under a bucket.”

Consider the dahlias of the garden, how they grow and thrust bright colours into the heart of the border! They stand out from the crowd, rejoicing in difference, variety, colour. “Smartie” shouts out “Look at me! I’m gorgeous.”

There is an innocence to the boldness of a flower. It’s a celebration of life, a statement about joyful living- making the most of their individuality yet still being part of the overall plan of the garden. The Gardener takes the one with its distinctiveness, and plants it for maximum benefit and impact.

Here’s a thought. What if God, who sees your qualities and beauty, should plant you in a chosen place, alongside others but with the intention of letting your quality stand out for the crowd?

Shrinking violets or big bold bloom? What is it about Christ-in-you that will benefit and bless those who see you?

God makes us uniquely “us” and spends our lifetime helping us become the best we can be. The best reason we can stand out from the crowd is to display what God’s amazing grace can do with our raw material.

I hope people look at us today and think “Wow, how lovely… how love-filled… I’d like to have what they’ve got…”

Standing out from the crowd doesn’t mean we are weird, or odd. It is being our beautiful selves, displaying the love and wonder of Jesus. Get out there and shine, smarties!


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