Revisiting: “Gone to Seed” or “Perfection”

Summer reruns on TV can be pretty boring, unless they’re showing the episode you missed last fall.  (So that’s what Lady Violet meant by her most recent zinger.)

In case you didn’t see it the first time, here’s an updated version of a post from last October.  

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This is a perfect sunflower.


Even if a few of the ray petals have been nibbled, the next one is still perfect.


And this ragged, windblown flower, eaten by root worm beetles?

Perfect again.


The beautiful, golden ray petals are gone.  The leaves have shriveled in hot, dry winds.

Still perfect.


This sunflower head is frostbitten, not a trace of green leaf or sunny yellow left.

It is absolutely perfect!


Not your idea of perfection?  It depends on what language you’re speaking.  We English speakers most often think of this definition of the word “perfect:”

entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings; correct in every detail

Some of us have carried over this idea of flawlessness to our Christian walk, thinking a character and life without defects was required of us.  We have heard bits of verses  taken out of the whole of Scripture, and they made living the Christian life seem like a Herculean task.

For every honest heart knows they are bug-eaten, wind-blown, and drought-stunted.  There are days the hard freezes of life stop us in our tracks, and we feel like dried-out husks without a tinge of green life left in us.  We make the choices and say the words and think the thoughts that take us a universe away from perfection.

There is good news, friends!  We need to reclaim the older meanings of the word-perfect.”  The old Latin word from which our English comes  is

“perfectus:” to finish, bring to completion.

We are not responsible for or even capable of finishing or completing the story that is our life.  God is.  Like the sunflower, we just turn to face the sun and grow.

And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.   Philippians 1:6   TLB

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.   Philippians 1:6   NIV

In the Greek of the New Testament the word for “perfect” is teleios which means

a thing meeting its intended, end purpose.

What is the designed, end purpose of the sunflower?  In general, all of creation testifies to God’s glory and His character.

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.  Romans 1:20 RSV

However, what can the sunflower do that nothing else can?  It produces sunflower seeds–enough seeds to ensure reproduction and to feed birds and other animals.

goldfinch on sunflower flickr

We live in a broken world , but the good news is “the Good News.”  Jesus provided a way for us to be forgiven, and now we can live out our intended end purpose.  Jesus taught that the first and second greatest commandments were to love God and love our neighbor as our self.

We can love and glorify God.  We can love our neighbors by sharing the gospel seeds with a world that is spiritually (and literally) hungry.   Be a perfect sunflower–face the warm sun and “go to seed.”



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Sunflower photo 1 and 2 by Barb Briggs

Sunflower with goldfinch photo by Audreyjm529

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linking with

Jennifer Dukes Lee Laura Boggess

  Holley Gerth PhotoFridayButton_MG_7389-Edit.jpg  Diane W. Bailey


Posted on August 21, 2014, in Devotional and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Now that was just perfect! I loved it. I am a recovering perfectionist and I always need reminding what perfect really is – doing what God wants me to do. Thank you Constance. Beautiful images make your story live 🙂

  2. Sometimes we look negatively at aging as “going to seed”…you help us remember that is a good thing and part of God’s perfect plan. He is faithful! Thanks, Connie 🙂

  3. J’aime beaucoup l’épitre de Paul aux philippiens. J’aime aussi votre façon de mettre les versets en images : c’est juste et humble. Merci pour ce partage et le message qu’il contient

    • “I love the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians. I also like the way you put the verses in pictures: it is just and humble. Thank you for sharing this and the message it contains” (Google translate)
      Thanks for your kind words, Christiane. I’m glad you liked the verse from Philippians.

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