Giant Sea Holly: Photo by Matthew Richardson on Flickr CC BY-NC-ND-2.0

I saw Miss Willmott’s Ghost this week.

No, I don’t know anyone by that name, and I haven’t seen any actual ghosts lately.

I’m referring to the giant sea holly, a plant whose nickname is “Miss Willmott’s Ghost.” I happened to see it on a visit to my city’s botanical gardens recently.

The giant sea holly was given this whimsical moniker in honour of the equally eccentric Ellen Willmott, an English gardener who lived in Victorian times.

Apparently, Miss Willmott so loved this plant that she carried its seeds with her at all times in hopes of helping it proliferate. On a regular basis, she would secretly scatter the seeds in other people’s gardens when visiting them. Later, this silvery thistle-like plant would mysteriously appear, no doubt causing the garden’s owners to do a double-take and wonder how it got there.

Perhaps we as believers in God should take a page from Miss Willmott’s book. Not to engage in any guerrilla gardening necessarily, but to follow her example of planting “seeds” wherever we go.

The seeds in our case wouldn’t be from plants, but rather seeds containing the love of God that might grow later on in people’s lives. If Christ’s love is truly in us, we’ll carry it with us at all times. We won’t be able to help scattering it in other people’s lives. We love Him so much that we want others to enjoy a relationship with Him, too.

Wherever believers go, we should sow something in the lives of others, even if it’s just a kind word or deed. Sometimes when we sow love into others, they might not necessarily notice or understand that we’re evangelizing: we might not always be that blatant. But that subtle seed of love may take root in them and grow into a yearning for a relationship with God.

“The Sower” by Vincent van Gogh 1888: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

After you’ve sown the seeds of Christ’s love, some people might notice an unusual new “plant” growing in the garden of their lives. They feel a new connection to God and want to get to know Him. They might ask you questions about this plant: how it got there, what its nature is, how to make it last. This is your opportunity to give them “growing tips” on how to nurture their relationship with God through Jesus and help it thrive.

Sometimes, a seed might sprout long after you’ve gone. That’s all right. God has other gardeners who’ll come along and water it. He’ll see to it that the seed that you planted flourishes, even if you’re not there to watch it happen.

Long after Miss Willmott passed away, the giant sea hollies that she planted were still growing and dispersing their own seeds. In the same way, the seeds of God’s love that you plant in people’s lives will multiply and reach countless others in future generations.

Miss Willmott’s “ghost” or legacy is seen in the numerous gardens around England that still feature giant sea hollies.

How privileged we are as believers to leave a much better legacy: lives changed by the love of God through His Son Jesus!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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