Jyuukichi Yagi (八木重吉 / やぎ じゅうきち) was a devout Christian poet who died in 1927 at the age of twenty-nine. He lived a short but dedicated life, aiming to unite faith and poetry. One of his poems is called “Flowers”:
花はなぜ美しいか。ただ一筋の気持ちで咲いているから美しい八木重吉 （やぎ じゅうきち）
Why are flowers beautiful? They are beautiful, because they bloom with only single-mindedness.Jyuukichi Yagi (Translation by Studio KonKon)
For Jyuukichi Yagi, flowers are beautiful, not because of their shape, colour or appearance but because they “bloom with only single-mindedness”, without any unnecessary thoughts of making themselves look beautiful or being praised by others.
It is said in the teachings of the way: “No god has ever told you what to do. Wherever you go, all you can do is hope. However, if we are single-minded, we will be helped by the presence of God in our hearts. Have faith in the living God. The heavens and the earth have never been dead… Where there is prayer, there is God and single-mindedness.”
There is a great work that keeps us alive, that keeps nature alive, that keeps the whole of heaven and earth alive. To be single-minded is to be one with that work, as it is written. It means not to be selfish, not to be attached to things, not to be proud but to be single-mindedly focused on God with an honest heart.
For whom does the flower bloom? It is not for anyone. A flower blooms, only because it is a flower. It is only by fulfilling the role it has been given, in the environment it has been given, to the best of its ability, that it can pass on its life to the next generation; If it is a flower that blooms in the depths of the mountains, it will just bloom beautifully and its life will end there, unnoticed by anyone.
We, human beings, too, have a role to play in fulfilling the life we have been given. How much can come out of us? The beauty is in the single-mindedness with which we try to bloom.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; about your body or what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 However, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness then all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefor, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.