So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.Romans 12:1 MSG
I have an ordinary life, and I often wonder if what I do makes any difference on the grand scheme of things. How about you?
The Ordinary Life of a Plant
It blooms from summer to fall. You can find it alongside the road, in meadows, nestled among the charred trunks of fire-ravaged trees, and above the tree line on mountains. The smallest grows only an inch or two, the largest can reach nine feet.
Native Americans made tea from its leaves and ate the shoots in the spring. The edible flowers taste sweet and earthy, and some enterprising people make jelly or syrup from them. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds feast on the nectar from the flowers.
Once the blooms began to fade, the stalk turns a cheery red color. Native Americans used the tufts of fiber it produces in the fall for padding or fibers for weaving.
Birds and other small animals feast off a single plant’s 80,000 seeds. Imagine how productive an entire meadow of this beautiful plant is. You can grow it from seeds or propagate it from rhizomes. Either way, it multiples rapidly.
What is it? Fireweed—Epilobium angustifolium. Despite the ‘weed’ part of its name, it’s not a weed, but a perennial wildflower. Fireweed has an ordinary life. But an intricately amazing one, too. The rosy-pink flowers run like rivers along lonely stretches of highway in the Yukon Territory.
Fireweed doesn’t need rich soil—it grows equally well in rocky soil near mountaintops and ash-filled soil in a burned-out forest. In fact, within one month of the devastating 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State, fireweed shoots started pushing through the barren landscape. Within a year, this ordinary plan accounted for over 80% of the new growth around the volcano. It’s extensive root systems helped project the soil from landslides and flooding.
It may have an ordinary life, but fireweed rates as extraordinary in my book.
Why I Want to be Like a Fireweed
I live an ordinary life. As a Christian, I want my life to have meaning and I want to serve others. But I don’t get out much. I have an insignificant sphere of influence in my little corner of the desert. Not many people follow me on social media, and hardly anyone notices my Instagram posts.
But it doesn’t matter. If I offer my ordinary life to God, he can multiple it in ways I never imagined. After all, he fed thousands with just a few loaves and fishes. Each interaction I have with someone else represents an opportunity to serve. Will I make someone’s day brighter with my cheery smile? Do my words spread the fragrance of hope wherever I go? Will someone distill my acts of kindness into something even sweeter?
I don’t mind my ordinary life, but I do want to be like the fireweed.