CONSIDER THE LILIES by Pastor Ken Rickett
“Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”
“Consider the lilies…”
You bet I do! My favorite flowers, indeed!
My yard has several sites where lilies grow! While they are in bloom I marvel at their intricate, bright colors. Daylilies, stargazer lilies, and other species of lilies are not only “eye catchers” but also “nose catchers” as some have a sweet, pleasing fragrance that can be noted from several feet away!
“Consider the lilies…” Jesus said, inviting folks to note that lilies labor and spin not, but they grow under the mysterious Hand of God and their blooms are far more beautiful than King Solomon in all his glory…a reference to the King who actually built the Temple in Jerusalem with its ornate decor and gold inlays.
“Consider the lilies…” Jesus said and note that the lilies are not anxious nor troubled. They grow and bloom in their own time, not rushing nor slowing Mother Nature’s (God) design.
“Consider the lilies…” Jesus said, and I do consider them! If I want lovely lilies, I have “work to do!” I plant the bulbs, mulch the soil around them, replenish the nutrients for healthy plants, and I water them in drought. And every few years I will have 10-12 plants where I only planted a couple of bulbs because lilies reproduce by creating new bulbs. Over time, if I do nothing, then the clump of lilies will keep enlarging OR I may choose to dig up some of the bulbs in the fall and plant them elsewhere in my yard OR I can give a few bulbs to others who enjoy lilies. Lilies can be hard work at times!
“Consider the lilies…” Jesus said, inviting us to marvel as we think about lilies. Lilies do not toil or spin! They do not fret and worry. And yet, they are exquisitely beautiful!
“Consider the lilies”…Jesus said, and likewise, we are not to worry and fret about food and clothing because our life (GK: “zoe”) is wrapped up in God “Consider the lilies…” Jesus said BUT notice what Jesus did NOT say…Jesus did NOT say that we should likewise avoid toiling and spinning! I have lovely lilies because I “toil.” If I did not keep the invasive vines pulled out of my lilies, the lilies would become smothered by the sheer weight of an invasive weed. If I did not control the weeds, not even I could see the beauty of the lilies. To experience the God-given beauty of my lilies, I have work to do. I have to put nutrients in the soil by feeding them, I have to keep the grass from crowding the lilies. I have to remove grass and weeds that encroach on the lilies to the point that the lilies do not get adequate moisture. Yep! God grows my lilies and they do not have to toil nor spin…. that’s MY JOB!
“Consider the lilies….” Jesus said, with the implication that beauty of the lily is God-given, but the care of the lily is our work. Yes, God takes care of us just as surely as God takes care of the lilies. We are not to worry about what we will eat or about our bodies (and clothing). Worry not, but, instead, embrace life…for life (Greek “zoe”, meaning life wrapped up in GOD who is eternal) is more than food and the body more than clothing. Mind you, this whole conversation about lilies was started when a man asked Jesus to ask his brother to share the inheritance (from parents) with him (Luke 12:13f).
Obviously, the man wanted to live in the abundance that a goodly portion of his brother’s inheritance would have provided. Wanting a chunk of his brother’s inheritance, the man wanted “the life of Riley”, a life on “easy street” with no worries about food or clothing. His vision of life is best expressed in the word bios (Greek bios meaning physical life) of ease! Such abundance would take care of all his earthly needs…or so the man thought!
Jesus responded to the man by the story of the successful farmer who built bigger barns to hoard his over-abundance of crops. And then…the farmer died. His abundance gave this farmer no benefits on this earth or in the afterlife. Then Jesus begins teaching….
“Consider the lilies….” Jesus taught. Have we missed the whole point of this text? Yes, indeed! “Consider the lilies”, Jesus said. You see, abundance is not ours to possess or own. Any earthly abundance, including food and clothing is often fleeting rather than enduring. True abundance is only given to us…and it is given by God. God’s abundance comes in the form of love, grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness, etc…and all God asks is that we SEE this abundance.
“Consider the lilies…” Lilies live in the abundance of God…and such is our life (“zoe”) just for the awe and wonder of seeing the beauty of God’s abundance.