Food For the Soul

Three for Five by John G. Brown

The time is perhaps the 19th Century since John G. Brown lived between 1831 - 1913. He captures a moment in British society when a young boy, who should be in school, is on the street selling flowers. He looks to be about 12 years old with a kind face and winning expression for making a sale. He holds out exactly what he wants to sell -- 3 stems for 5 pence.

There is a pride and determination in this young salesman's face and an irresistible genuineness. It will be hard to refuse this likable boy who must work at such a young age.

His product -- fresh flowers -- is certainly not a necessity in life but they are a reminder of beauty and color and the life of God in his creation. For those who buy, they will put into their home the very creativity of God -- with color and fragrance to last only a few days.

As a salesperson myself who sells a product that is not a necessity, it reminds me of our generous God who feeds our souls as well as our bodies. Fresh flowers, art, jewelry, sculpture and literature are all examples of products that feed our souls -- our minds and our emotions. Without beauty and the truth that it reflects our souls can easily shrivel and die.

And what is the truth that art and beauty reflect? They reflect the truth that there is a generous, magnanimous God who loves to give us good things -- "just because".

It's never a waste to feed our souls -- perhaps an even more vital part of us than our bodies. A living flower brings color to a home, fragrance to the air and a sense of a loving Father that has so many good things for us. And on a practical level, when we buy "3 for 5" we aid in the care and keeping of another who needs the basic necessities.

How embarrassed I am to think back to my youth when I thought all such things as art and literature and flowers were a waste of time and money. Who would spend good money on fresh flowers?

Moving to Amsterdam in my 20's was baptism into real life. WWII had ended only decades before with all its death and destruction. Now on street corners all over the city were fresh flowers being sold at inexpensive prices. No doubt many bunches would tenderly adorn grave sites to calm an intense heart-ache along with a desire to say something of hope to a dying world.

Other flowers would adorn the dining-room table as a testimony that all is right in the world because God is still in charge. Whatever the use, I learned that buying fresh flowers was important. It was an investment in man's soul. It is God giving us his handiwork just because we are his kids.

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