What’s Your Basil?

My boys love basil. basil-generosity1

They like plenty of fruits and vegetables, but they LOVE basil.

Last summer they picked one of my plants clean. I say “one of” because I had three, just to satisfy their addiction.  Other leafy greens, forget about it.  I’ve read that basil has mood boosting properties, if it is true I’m not likely to deny them that, either – it is an added Mommy bonus.

So, while shopping in the produce section last week I saw the first potted basil plant with roots and I snatched it up. When I brought it home, I planted it with hopes that we would harvest more from it than just the leaves we bought. I lovingly cared for it, gently watering it and moving it from front window to back as the sun moved over our house during the day.

I rationed those leaves, too. Allowing the boys to have only one leaf a day, perhaps two as a reward if they had been really good.

Yesterday was an unseasonably warm day, so I placed the plant out on the deck to soak up all the rays it could. This morning, as sat down to breakfast, I looked outside and saw the plant, still green, but darker–leafed than before. I knew, just knew, before I opened the door that the leaves would be cold and crunchy, ruined by the cold night air. And as they thawed, the stems collapsed and the leaves melted into a slimy mess.

I was rationing those precious leaves in hopes of more bounty, nurturing the plant praying for a higher yield.

And now there is nothing edible left.

As I was pondering this, I asked myself a now familiar question…what is the lesson in this? The answer seemed so obvious…the basil was a metaphor for all the things we hold so closely to us, hoping to increase them….our time, our talents and our treasures.  Too often we guard these things so closely and deny others the joy they could be bringing to their lives under the guise of increasing or cultivating them. We invest our money to make more.  We keep our keep our talents for our own enjoyment. We complain that we need more time. The cold truth is that we can’t take these things with us when our time on earth is done.

The basil that could have brought my children so much more joy or added flavor to many meals was now squandered because I tried to hold it too close. The money we save or invest won’t follow us to the grave. The time I don’t spend on things that matter in the Kingdom of Heaven is gone forever. The talents I practice alone cannot bring joy to others.

MASTERPIECE living means generously sharing our gifts, not grudgingly grasping them.

MASTERPIECE living means generously sharing our gifts, not grudgingly grasping them. Click To Tweet

What is your basil? What are you holding on to so tightly that you might just kill it or rob all the joy from it? How much brighter could your world be if you shared with the needy, spent time uplifting a friend, or used your talents in a way that brings glory to God?

And so I say, “Let’s all eat basil.”

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