“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” Luke 12:27
Israel might be a dry place most of the year, but it’s also home to some truly beautiful flowers. Bright red poppies, tulips, and anemones of every color; Calendula, crocus, iris, starry pancratium and Madonna lilies.
Scholars haven’t quite figured out which of these beauties Jesus spoke of in Luke, though we usually translate it as “lily.” Perhaps the word encompassed all the wild flowers that grew throughout Judea — we just don’t know. So go ahead — pick a flower, any flower: heavy-headed sunflower, dainty sweet pea, stunning lily, crimson rose.
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Got one in mind? Good. Now consider it for a moment.
Observe its color, its contours, its leaves. Flashy or demure, it catches the eye. A pop of red or orange or purple, surrounded by a sea of vital green. Now imagine the feel of it: a velvety soft rose petal, perhaps, or a ruffled fuchsia or a tissue-paper azalea blossom. And finally, its perfume — spicy, sweet, earthy, soothing, rich.
Now that you have this flower firmly in your mind, read Jesus’ words again: Not even the richest, most extravagant king in the world could clothe himself so regally as one of these lilies.
It’s a little humbling, no? We can strive and fret and burn the midnight oil all we want, but these little masterpieces of nature are just going to pop out of the dirt, looking like a million bucks without having lost a single night’s sleep.
That’s not to say that plants never get stressed — the poor plants at my house are a fine example. But they don’t worry about it. They sprout, they produce fruit, they return to the earth. They make friends with bees. They wait for the rain. And all along, they simply get to be the lovely things that God made them to be. Useful, good and pleasing.
You, too, are one of God’s lilies. Without even trying, you were made to be lovely. No stunning garment or piece of art could ever compare to how worthy and beautiful God thinks you are, and no amount of work or worry will change the way he feels about you, his masterpiece.
This summer, take some time to enjoy all of God’s artwork in the world around you: the sunsets, the wildflowers in bloom, the people around you. Appreciate the goodness of it all; preserve it and protect it in honor of God.
Remember that you, too, are a part of it all, and try not to worry too much. Good hands made you, child of God, and good hands hold you still.
Rev. Liv Gibbons is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and serves as pastor of Northwest United Protestant Church in Richland. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email email@example.com.