Posies

READ: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17
We are to God the fragrance of Christ. —2 Corinthians 2:15

One morning I was looking at a bouquet of flowers in a vase on an old carpenter’s bench in front of our “window on the world.” I realized the bouquet was spent; its leaves had wilted and the blossoms were falling.

The same morning I also read George Herbert and quite by “accident” came across his poem titled “Life.” In it Herbert talks about a “posy” (a bouquet of flowers) he gathered so that he could smell the fragrance. But, as he put it, “Time did beckon to the flowers, and they by noon most cunningly did steal away, and withered in my hand.”

The loss of his flowers caused him at first to see “time’s gentle admonition.” Herbert wrote that it “[made] my mind to smell my fatal day; yet sugaring the suspicion.” Yet even as the wilted flowers reminded him of his own death, he found in the metaphor something that sweetened the thought. Herbert concluded:

Farewell dear flowers, sweetly your time ye spent,
Fit, while ye lived, for smell or ornament,
And after death for cures.
I follow straight without complaints or grief,
Since if my scent be good, I care not, if
It be as short as yours.

What wisdom in this poem! Our time, however short, may be spent “sweetly”—a sweet fragrance of Christ to others (2 Cor. 2:14-16). Should not this be our prayer each day as we arise? — David H. Roper

Farewell dear flowers, sweetly your time ye spent,
Fit, while ye lived, for smell or ornament,
And after death for cures.
I follow straight without complaints or grief,
Since if my scent be good, I care not, if
It be as short as yours.

A godly life is a fragrance that draws others to Christ.

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