Bee laden with pollen in a chickory flower

Lessons from the Humble Chicory

Chicory was one of the first flower names that I learned from my mom‘s vast mental library (besides dandelions, of course!).

Our area has a ton of crispy lawns right now as we wait for rain to arrive. The light brown makes a lovely background for the pretty blue chicory flowers, wouldn’t you say?

Chickory Flowers with brown grass background

Most folks consider chicory to be a weed. What exactly is a weed, anyway? I love this definition: a weed is anything that grows where you don’t want it to. Chicory has a tough, woody stem, making it rather uncomfortable to step on in bare feet after the grass has been mown.

While I don’t necessarily want it growing in my yard, I do love seeing it growing along roadsides and in wild areas because it reminds me of my mother.

Now on to our lessons for the day, thanks to the humble chicory.

Chicory doesn’t really belong here

It is native to Europe, central Russia and western Asia, but is now found fourishing in many areas around the world. It’s a tough plant that can survive many difficult growing conditions, including those found here in the northeastern United States.

Have you found yourself in a place far from where you started out? Do you feel like an outsider because you’re so different from everyone else around you?

Make your mark on your environment by making use of those differences! Own them, and use them to point others to our wonderful, creative God.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Chicory doesn’t bloom its first year

It begins life as a small rosette of leaves. No stem, and no flowers. But in its second year, everything changes! That’s when a woody flowering stem begins to grow, sometimes up to four feet tall.

Have you been wondering why your life doesn’t yet look like those of folks who have been following Jesus for years and years? Have patience! Life change is a process that can take more time than we want it to.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV emphasis added

We are all being changed, and none will reach perfect sainthood this side of heaven. Not seeing any flowers in your life? Be patient, God’s not finished with you yet!

Chicory flowers are short-lived

Each flower only lasts for one day. If it’s a hot, sunny day, the flower may only last until noon. On a cooler, cloudy day, it may stay open almost all day. Even though each flower dies after just one day, the plant produces flowers from mid-summer until the first fall frost. That’s a lot of flowers to produce!

Producing flowers requires using resources. While God works on our spiritual lives, we have to join in and do our part, putting in the time and effort required for spiritual disciplines such as prayer, reading the Bible, worship, and gathering with other followers of Jesus.

Working alongside the Master Gardener (John 15) will do much to cultivate our spiritual health and fruitfulness.

Chicory supports life

Chicory provides food for deer, rabbits, and turkeys, as well as livestock such as cattle, horses, and sheep. The flowers are a food source for bees, flies and butterflies.

Bee laden with pollen in a chickory flower
Just look at all that pollen!! Someone’s been busy . . .

Our spiritual life is not meant to be hoarded for our own enjoyment. Yes, a healthy life is full of joy and peace, but it is also full of love, justice, mercy, grace, and righteousness, all of which affect others around us!

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25 NLT

Are we bringing life and truth to others, pointing them to the ultimate Giver of Life?

Chicory has a deep root

While many plants growing around it may die from lack of rain, the chicory digs deep to reach water sources down beneath the surface.

If the plant is chopped down to the surface of the soil, it will simply sprout again from the root. If it’s pulled out of the ground and a piece of the root remains, it still grows again!

Sometimes life takes us by surprise and knocks us off our feet. The loss of a job, serious illness, too many bills at the end of the month, the death of a loved one . . . any one of these can rob our joy and make us feel hopeless. More than one happening at the same time can make us feel like we’ve been ripped up by the root, no longer having anything left to go on.

We may feel like we’re alone in the dark, but that’s never true for the child of God!

If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night–but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

Psalm 139:9-12 NLT

God is always with us, whether or not we’re aware of his presence.

Even when we feel weak in faith, God is still at work in us.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6 NLT

Don’t give up, my friend. If you’re still here, God’s still at work.

Now it’s your turn!

Which lesson from the lovely chicory do you most identify with right now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Lessons from the Humble Chicory”

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