Lessons from a Cattleya

By Dave Henning / September 10, 2013

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.” -Proverbs 16: 23

Two years ago I purchased a Cattleya (pronounced kat-lee-uh or kat-lay-uh) at an orchid show presented at the Mitchell Park Domes in Milwaukee.  A Cattleya, unlike the typical orchids found in grocery story plant departments, consists of pseudobulbs with green, leafy sheaths.  When a Cattleya blooms, the flowering stalk originates from the base of a leaf topping the pseudobulb.  This summer I noticed a thin, half-inch wide blade emerging from the newest leaf.  After 2 months of patient watching, the blade was approximately 1 1/2 inches long.  As the blade enlarged, I could see the silhouette of a flower bulb inside.  But I was in for a beautiful surprise, what my wife calls an Ann Voskamp moment.  Not one, but two yellow/purple flowers emerged!

A Cattleya’s beauty comes from the inside out.  We stumble when we react to circumstances, people, and events outside of our control, attempting to rein them in to a more humanly manageable level.  Even so, Jesus’ mercy remains.  As we are caught in His grace, Jesus’ unfailing love sustains and upholds us.  Although the lure of temporal idols threatens to obstruct Jesus’ everlasting light from penetrating our hearts, that light will continue to shine when all else fades.

The glory of Jesus far surpasses any of our efforts at external self-improvement.  With revitalized purpose through the power of the Holy Spirit, we humbly submit to God’s perfect plan for our lives.  In Who is This Man?, Pastor John Ortberg states that our highest calling is “the glorious adventure of coming to know and do the will of God in whose image (we) are created.”  Through the art of losing ourselves, we are enabled to praise God from the inside out.  In Mark 8: 34, Jesus reminds us that:

“Whoever wants to save his live will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and the gospel will save it.”

About the author

Dave Henning

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