I already had two Genovese basils in separate pots because they catch disease and fungus easily from other plants. I had my spearmint plant in its own pot as well, because it will simply take over if you don't keep it corralled. I seldom use any other herbs than those I already have, so I decided to plant some lavender. Maybe I could make some sachets, I thought, thinking ahead to gift-giving time. So I bought one and planted it.
Two weeks later I came outside to a wilted lavender plant. Everything else looked fine, putting on new thick growth and even threatening to bloom. Keith kept the bed well-watered and fertilized, but neither overwatered nor over-fertilized. What was the problem? We did some research and found out. Lavender does not like to be watered and fertilized and it despises rich soil. It does best when it is left alone in poor dirt. Imagine that! We removed it from the herb bed and put it in a pot of dry dirt from the field, but it was too late. It died within the week. And that's when I thought of these verses:
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. (Acts 4:1-4)
When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it…Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband…And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, (Acts 5:5, 10, 14)
It seems like the early church was a lot like English lavender. Under the worst conditions of persecution and poverty, and after a strong discipline from God, they flourished. A lot of people have expressed their ideas about why this happened, but it seems simple to me. Who would join a group they knew could get them beaten, imprisoned, or even killed, and would certainly cause them suffering of some kind in this world except those who were truly converted and devoted to the cause? Those are the ones who stick and who spread the Word.
I have heard it said by some that should we once again be persecuted as our ancient brethren were, that the rolls of the church would not decrease at all—we would simply know who really was a Christian and who was a hypocrite. When the things we complain about have more to do with personal comfort, perhaps it is time to ask ourselves whether we are English lavender Christians or the other type, the fragile, high maintenance plants who need careful tending in order to bear the Lord anything remotely useful at all.
And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. (Acts 5:40-42)