Six years ago we planted a jasmine vine. I had always wanted one twining up a trellis by the side of my porch, but being married to a man with allergies made that impossible. That summer, though, he wanted to do anything and everything for me, at least the small things we could afford, so he bought me a jasmine vine. It is not by the porch—I wouldn’t let him suffer just for my sake--so it is next to the drive about seventy-five feet away from the house.
He built one lollapalooza of a trellis out of a cow panel and an antenna mast. It stands about fifteen feet in the air. In just two years that dark green vine has grown up and over the top and this time of year is covered with tiny, white blossoms. And the fragrance! When the wind is right, you can smell it fifty feet away. I would know it was there whether I could see it or not—which one day may be important.
I think I would like to be like a jasmine—vines trailing out everywhere, winding in and out of the squares of its “trellis,” covered in beautiful blooms, and sending out a sweet smell that tells everyone it is there, even when they cannot otherwise see it. But when I look in “the mirror” I am a long way from that ideal, much pruning and fertilizing still to be done.
If I am going to effect others I need to involve myself with them, whether it is convenient or not. If I am to present a beautiful picture to them, I need to follow in the footsteps of my Savior, who served others to the ultimate degree. If I am to influence those who do not know me, I must influence those who do by an example of love, longsuffering, and faith that continues on even in the face of trials.
The only way to accomplish all of that is to constantly fill myself with His word, to talk with Him often, to make others the center of my life rather than myself, to watch that tongue of mine! I must give with no thought of reciprocity from others; give of myself, of my time, of my labor, of my care and consideration, regardless of what others may do.
The more I look at this, the more I think I will never make it. But God has made a jasmine vine, a gift from a man who can hardly tolerate them due to the physical discomfort they cause him, yet who gave it nevertheless. That is my inspiration. Every time I walk past it, its sweet fragrance reminds me to pray for help and, in praying, have faith that I will receive.
I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely, for my anger is turned away from them. I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the grain and blossom as the vine; the scent of it shall be as the wine of Lebanon…Who is wise that he may understand these things? Prudent that he may know them? For the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but transgressors shall fall therein. Hosea 14:4-7,9