As an old age pretence of real gardening, I have a habit of picking seed heads off flowers and planting the seeds in pots of soil. If they come up I am pleased and if they don’t, I have not really lost anything except a tiny brown speck that could be anything.
One particular seed, not expected to grow, came up. I have planted similar seeds and have been mostly pleased with outcomes but this one has left me somewhat perplexed to say the least!
It does not look anything like what it would be expected to look like. It has grown into a different shape, a different colour, the leaves are at odds with every other plant of the same family, and the smaller flower, while it can be forgiven for its size, bears no family likeness.
I remember putting the seed into this particular pot so there is no doubt about its parentage. It is who it is supposed to be but it is nothing like who it is supposed to be!
One day I found a small moth attached to one leaf of the new flower and it looked appealing. I liked the multiple spots on the wings of the moth, and the variety of colours it showed to the world and had often seen many such moths flittering around the garden. They stay for several weeks and then they go off to wherever their destiny might be.
Their family name is not important to me, all the members of the family look much the same, but just as they are important to the flower in the pot, it seems the flower is also important to them.
The moth stayed there for several days, then it slipped underneath the leaf for a day or two, apparently drawing nourishment from the recalcitrant flower that would sustain its coat of many colours ready for its long absence afterwards.
Back to my flower, I grew its mother from seed, and she is a beautiful pink rose that I love dearly. This new plant is the child of a well-respected mother, it is a genuine rose but it has absolutely no resemblance to its mother.
It is recalcitrant, but beautiful in its own right – with or without her moth!
So it came to choosing a name for the new rose and I thought of the sustenance it provided for the moth, of the resting place it gave the moth, and how it protected the moth with its little prickles. Then I thought of how the moth enhanced the rose, its wings covered with its vivid, tiny spots and I could think of no name more appropriate for the rose than ‘Joseph.’
Just as my new rose wore a coat of many colours, Joseph, of the tribe of Israel, wore a coat of many colours and he provided sustenance to a nation that lasted over the centuries. You remember the story — Genesis 37:3: “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours.” (Genesis 41:41): “And Pharoah said unto Joseph, ‘See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.'”
My prayer is that I will be as faithful to what is entrusted to me as Joseph was faithful in what was entrusted to him. And may my recalcitrant rose ever remind me of the variety of needs that are near to me. ‘Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;…’ (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Thank you, Joseph.