Michaux was not an aristocrat. Born on March 8, 1746, he was the son of a French farmer who lived in the shadow of Versailles. He was educated, as most Frenchmen were at the time, in the classics. At 14, his father took him and his brother out of school to learn agriculture, a respected career at the time, and he soon showed a great affinity for making practically anything grow.
When his wife of eleven months, Cecile Claye, died a few days after childbirth in 1770, he was devastated. As we say these days, she was his soulmate, and he never married again. In fact, the area surrounding him became unbearable with sad memories. He soon came to the attention of Louis XVI's physician, who persuaded him to study botany. Before long he became the Royal botanist and was sent on missions to find new trees and plants, specifically to revitalize stripped French forests, and leaving his new son with his grandparents, was happy to get away. After that his life reads like an adventure novel, with treks to all parts of Asia, Africa, and the wilderness of North America, riding for miles on horseback, canoeing down uncharted rivers, and once being kidnapped by hostile tribes.
And here is where we find Andre and the crepe myrtle. Originally from China it was first taken to England. No one was impressed. England was too cold a climate, even in the summer, for it to bloom. So in 1786, Michaux brought it to the American South instead. "Voila!" Michaux might have said in his native French. This plant loved the heat, the humidity, and any type of soil you stuck it in. He is also credited with introducing the mimosa and the camellia here in the South.
So thanks to Andre Michaux, we had been looking for crepe myrtles for a while, the bush variety, not the trees. Nathan and Brooke gave us some shoots that had come up around theirs and we gratefully planted them, and kept on looking for those bushes. I am still not sure there is actually a difference in the plant, as one article I read said, or if it is all about how it is pruned, but after five or six years we still hadn’t found what we wanted, and that fall noticed the seed pods on our transplants. We looked at each other and said, “Well, I’ve never heard of doing it before, but why not plant those seeds in some nursery pots?”
We did, and guess what? In spite of the fact that we had never heard of doing it before, they grew! This past spring we transplanted 8 one foot high crepe myrtles from that nursery pot experiment, all of which are blooming just fine in the Florida summer.
Haven’t you heard it? Someone comes up with an idea for spreading the gospel—one that is not beyond the bounds of God’s authority—but someone else pipes up, “I never heard of doing that before,” and expects that to be the end of the discussion. In fact it often is, especially when prefaced by “Why, I’ve been a Christian for forty years...” I wonder how many things would never have been done if everyone had that notion?
And the king made from the algum wood supports for the house of the LORD and for the king's house, lyres also and harps for the singers. There never was seen the like of them before in the land of Judah, 2 Chronicles 9:11
The throne had six steps, and at the back of the throne was a calf's head, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom, 1Kgs 10:20.
And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. Ezekiel 5:9.
He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem, Daniel 9:12.
God didn’t seem to have any trouble accepting Solomon’s unique adornments for his throne and for the Temple. He wasn’t above using punishments the like of which no one had ever seen before. He certainly didn’t mind confounding the world by sacrificing His Son for our sins. Aren’t you glad?
We might be in bad company if “I’ve never heard of doing that before” becomes the source of authority for our actions.
As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the mute man spoke. And the crowds marveled, saying, "Never was anything like this seen in Israel." But the Pharisees said, "He casts out demons by the prince of demons," Matthew 9:32-34.
Jesus didn’t fit their preconceived notions so they accused Him of consorting with the Devil. I’ve heard Christians come close when someone suggested something new to reach the lost, especially if it cost any money.
God tells us every word and action should be by His authority, not by whether we’ve heard of it or not. I wouldn’t have any crepe myrtles if we had followed that dictum—and none of us would have a hope of salvation.
For from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen a God besides thee, who works for him that waits for him, Isaiah 64:4.