Blooming for Jesus

An unexpected kindness brings unexpected blessings.

Dawn Jacobson-Venn
Blooming for Jesus
Illustration: Mugi Kinoshita

One of my favorite things about spring and summer is all the flowers in bloom. What about you? Washington, D.C., near where I live, has a beautiful springtime show where 3,750 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin bloom, and views of famous monuments honoring American history are all within walking distance.  

The idea to plant cherry trees began with Eliza Scidmore in 1885, when she advocated planting Japanese cherry trees in Washington, D.C. In 1906 David Fairchild imported and planted 75 cherry trees to see if they would grow in that climate, and they sure did! Japan’s mayor of Tokyo at the time, Yukio Ozaki, decided to send 3,000 trees as a gift to the city of Washington, D.C., in 1912, celebrating the growing friendship between the two countries.*

Did you know we can bloom for Jesus wherever we are planted, just like the Japanese cherry trees? If we accept the gift of love that Jesus wants to plant in our hearts, His love will grow and bloom through our words and actions. We can show God’s love in practical ways through our kind words and actions.

It was a busy weekend with the cherry trees in full bloom, and my husband and I joined some friends to see the blossoms in person. Well, we were not the only ones to go see the cherry trees that afternoon. Every year more than 700,000 visitors travel to this area to marvel at the beauty of the light-pink buds and petals!

After walking for some time and taking lots of photos of the beautiful trees from many different angles, we decided to find a place to sit and rest and check our photos. I was excited to find an empty bench among the crowds and quickly reserved it for our group. When I arrived at the bench, I noticed a small purse at the far edge, but did not see anyone around who looked like they might be the owner. I thought someone might be saving a spot, but I did not see anyone coming to the bench. Then I thought of how distraught I would feel if I lost my purse. 

My friends and I discussed the situation and what we should do. We decided to look inside to see if there might be an ID or a phone number we could dial to contact the owner. We also looked around to see if we noticed someone who looked like they were searching for a lost item. We did not, but there was a wallet with a driver’s license, cash, credit cards, and more, which made me feel even worse for the owner. We decided to pray for guidance and help to reunite this purse with its owner. If we were unsuccessful after 20 minutes, we would try to turn it in to lost and found.  

As my eyes scanned the faces of the multitudes of people passing by, I suddenly saw a face that looked like the picture on the driver’s license, and as she got closer to us, I was sure it was, indeed, the owner of the purse. The only puzzling thing was that she did not seem to be searching for anything; she was just laughing and talking with her friends as they walked. We approached the woman and called her by name. She looked at us in surprise because we were strangers. Then we told her that we found her purse on the bench nearby. Her mouth dropped open in surprise when she realized that she was, indeed, missing her purse. She was so thankful! She was visiting from out of town and was so happy to have her identification and everything else in her bag. She would not have been able to travel back home without her identification, and she thanked us repeatedly.  

We told her that God had answered our prayer and that we had prayed for her by name! She was touched and just kept thanking us. We felt such relief for her and were thankful that we could show her God’s love in such a practical way. I hope the seed of God’s love that we planted that day will grow and bloom in her life. 

God knows what we need even before we do, which is pretty amazing! I challenge you to look for ways to show God’s love in practical ways and bloom for Jesus today! 

* Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Cherry_Blossom_Festival.

Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Dawn Jacobson-Venn

Dawn Jacobson-Venn is the administrative assistant of the Department of Family Ministries for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is married with two adult children.