Written by Roslyn Alexander.
After two months of hard work tilling and clearing my yard for a new garden, I bought a watermelon plant in a two-inch pot. I took it home and planted it in what I thought was a large empty space in my plot. To my amazement it quickly filled the area and was sending runners all through the garden and into the lawn. Then yellow blooms began to appear everywhere! The blooms had a light green fragrance with a powdery lift. The watermelon had released its fragrant offering to the bees and insects that it needed for pollination and to complete its life cycle for fruit. This is not unlike how the ancient Hebrews worshiped the LORD. When Moses recorded their covenant laws the Hebrews were commanded to“make a fragrant offering” for worship, but plants had already been releasing their offering to the Creator since day three.
By the Creator’s design most of us are drawn to flowering plants for their appearance, fragrance and for the hope of fruit. There we admire, weed, tend, and nurture the plant so we might be rewarded with fruit even up to one hundred-fold. In our gardens we are reminded that Adam was being trained by God as the first master gardener. In Havilah plants and animals lived a symbiotic life with their Creator. Our sense of smell has been intricately connected to our sense of well-being, taste, choice, memory, and even behavior. After Adam and Eve chose to sin and were banished from the garden the all-knowing LORD had another plan to redeem their lives and spare humanity. This plan also had a pivotal third day, reflecting the day in creation when plants filled the earth.
My young watermelon plants needed protection from mold and decay, predators, and redirected away from my husband’s lawn mower. Daily I watched for the transformation in the vine as it swelled behind the shriveled yellow blooms and quickly produced a very small melon on the vine. In my grandson’s excitement when he spotted the tiny fruit, he desired to pick them too early, but I convinced him to let them grow so we might enjoy the full fruit. This observation also created a teaching moment as reminded me of the Scripture verse in the book of John where Jesus explained,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5 NIV.
After the flower and fragrance that attracts us to a plant dies away its fruit will hopefully grow into full maturity. The vine sustains the fruit through all kinds of environmental threats and challenges, but it must hold fast in order to grow. Jesus said “I am the vine” He gave us a visual connection to the presence of His Spirit and His transforming power. Like the plant our environment brings on challenges, but unlike the plant we have a choice to remain united to Him or to separate and shrivel.
Everywhere on the planet seems to be troubled today, but when we cultivate the ground we are planted in and receive the seed (Word), our spirit will flourish in season. We may not fully comprehend how the seed springs to life but in faith we prepare, plant, and patiently wait for the harvest which will certainly bring great joy and celebration to those who remain in Him.
When Jesus fulfilled His heavenly Father’s promises with His death on the cross, those who knew the Scriptures and understood His life, proclaimed He was the Fragrant Offering for the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of humanity. Just like the measured life of a beautiful bloom, Jesus was radiant and yet fragile. He appeared for a little while but changed the world forever when He laid down His life, and in three days He rose it up again into life everlasting!
Roslyn Alexander had a 20-year career in the medical field in Urbana and Springfield, Illinois, where she currently resides with her husband Greg. The last twelve years they served with the International Mission Board in the European Diaspora, living in Toronto, Canada and Bristol, UK. In 2020 Roslyn published Essence of Day, and its evangelical activity booklet Essentials for Sharing the Essence of Day, a free handbook on how to share a fragrance and a Bible story. She enjoys leading workshops and speaking for women’s events on this topic, which is Biblically grounded. You can find her online on her Facebook page, Essence of Days. And on Amazon.