I moved to Thomasville, with my family, in July of 1993. So, this
year's Rose Festival was our first since moving to Thomasville.
It was marvelous to finally witness the beautiful roses and participate
in the festival. We marched in a parade, watched a parade, attended
several events, and even petted a horse. Our weekend pleasantly
ended with a friend giving us a single beautiful rose in a vase
which has refreshed our senses.
For weeks prior to the festival until now, I have been thinking
about writing an article comparing the life of a rose to human life.
Now, I consider myself to be ignorant when discussing roses, but
there are parallels we can draw from anything possessing temporal
beautiful. The word rose, denoting a type of shrub and particularly
the flower, appears in the Bible two times. In Song of Solomon 2:1,
the rose of Sharon represents beauty as it does in Isaiah 35:1.
But, the rose is also depicted in Isaiah as a beautiful flower that
A rose that comes forth and blossoms is like the birth of a child.
It is beautiful, innocent of any wrong, and loved. It grows and
matures, blossoming into a mature adult. But, as no rose is perfect,
so no human is perfect. The rose bush has a nurseryman as a child
has a parent. The rose bush is watered, fertilized, and pruned to
stimulate new growth much like we encourage, educate, and chastise
our children to stimulate new grow - shedding poor behavior to give
way to further blossoming of greater character.
Likewise, the flower of a rose bush dies and is reborn again the
next season. We too must die to be reborn and acceptable to God.
This is called the rebirth. As a flowering rose dies and is reborn
the following season, a man must die and be reborn while living
on earth so that death has no effect apart from human existence.
Jesus says: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which
is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.
Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again" (John
A rose is born, blossoms, matures, and then fades away until being
overcome by death. So with human existence, we are born, blossom
from infancy to childhood, grow into mature adults, and then fade
away until captured by death. As the life of a rose is fleeting,
human existence is fleeting. James says: "For what is your life?
It is even a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes
away." (James 4:14) The greek word translated vapor denotes a mist.
One's life is like a mist that is here for a moment and then disappears
and is forgotten. So, human life is here one day and gone the next
without remembrance of the one who walked through the vale of death.
And ironically, as a rose returns to dust, so this human tent must
also return to dust. Our corruptible tent in which human existence
consists has been formed from natural elements and returns to that
from which it had been formed. How appropriate that we bury ourselves
in the ground since it is to the ground our flesh returns - from
dust to dust.
But for Christians, there is a blossom is our heart that never
fades, grows old, nor vanishes away. It is the blossom of eternal
life. In the passage quoted below Paul explains that those in Christ
have eternal life and that they are to reckon themselves to be alive
to God in Christ Jesus.
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ
Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with
Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised
from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should
walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in
the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness
of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified
with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we
should no longer be slaves to sin. For he who has died has been
freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we
shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised
from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer having dominion over
Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all;
that the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also,
reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in
Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:3-11).
So a Christian is like a rose in beauty and splendor, but unlike
a rose in one respect. Unlike a rose, a Christian's inner-man never
fades nor sees corruption. A Christian lives forever to enjoy the
rose of Sharon - eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Eternal life is precious. Jesus asks in Matthew 16:26: "For what
is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own
soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" As I type
these words, I am introspective regarding my life, my service to
God, the brevity of human existence, and the certainty of eternal
judgement. Have I sold my soul? Is there anything in life worth
exchanging my soul? What will I think of the life I am living today
as I lie upon tomorrow's paralyzing bed of death and look back on
today? These are indeed frightful questions, but I conclude that
it is better to look into my life today since I may improve only
upon today. But, as for yesterday, I may only feel remorse.