Meditating on the Commands of Christ (57): Consider the Lilies

Among the world’s most beautiful living plants, I can’t think of anything more gorgeous than flowers. How about you? Trees can be majestic and fill me with awe, but for sheer pleasure, there is no botanical sensory experience I enjoy more than visiting a lush flower garden bursting with extravagantly colored blooms . . . especially if they perfume the air! The profusion of shapes and sizes . . . the uniqueness of each blossom . . . I sometimes feel like I’ve died and gone to a Thomas Kinkaide heaven!

Lilies and delphinium growing in our garden

Therefore, it was with great joy that I embarked on a memory tour of my favorite lily photos to share with you while meditating on today’s texts: Matthew 6:28-30 “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Luke 12:27 “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Amaryllis. belladonna (aka/Belladonna Lily)

When I typed “lily” into my photo library’s search bar, it brought up 434 pictures (about 300 of which weren’t actually lilies), so the first thing I realized is that there are many flowers that look like lilies but aren’t.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) growing along our lane
Some scholars believe this could be the “lily” from Song of Solomon
Rather idyllic rendering of Jesus preaching to the people about lilies,
but these are what are commonly considered “true lilies.”

Even within the generous group of flowers that I always thought of as “types of lilies”— with common names containing the word “lily” . . . most of them are not actually part of the genus “lilium,” and are therefore not true lilies by botanical class or definition!

Nymphaeaceae, Pink Water lily in Thailand

For instance, all the gorgeous “water lilies” —lotus flowers—found around the world are not “true” lilies!

Water lily in our lake

Nor are any of the common (but splendid) water lilies that choke the perimeter of our lake part of the lilium family. I am so surprised!!

Lily-of-the-Valley, Convallaria majalis, growing in my front yard

The thousands of lilies of the valley that crowd the edges of our woods are not true lilies!

Trout Lily in our woods, Erythronium
(in truth, more closely related to tulips than true lilies!)

Not even the tiny trout lilies that dapple our woods in spring can be called genuine lilies! I was amazed when I learned this (just now, through study for this post)! 😦

Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria aurea) found in Iguaçu National Park, Brazil

Even this delicate “Peruvian lily” that I noticed growing near Iguaçu Falls is not a member of the “lilium” genus. So, the first thing I learned in considering the lilies is that there are many flowers called lilies which are not genuine lilies.

Lotus flowers blooming in Fort-de-France, Martinque

As I believe you are someone interested in studying what Jesus taught, I think it’s worth considering: Are you a genuine Christian?

Springtime in Monet’s Garden, Giverny, near Paris, France

The world is full of beautiful people, many of whom may call themselves Christians or think of themselves as Christians without truly be a part of the genuine family of Christians. Jesus taught us that: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). How can a man be born again? “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

Easter lily, uncurling in the early morning light

It is my hope and prayer that if you are reading this, you either are—or will become—a true child of God through faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior!

Lilies at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York

All true children of God—whether or not rich and part of some magnificent church . . .

Red lily growing wild in the french Alps

or alone, growing in some remote area of the world . . .

Peach-colored lily growing along our fence line (Michigan)

each of us is precious to God and can claim the promise intrinsic in what Jesus taught:

Tiger lilies growing in our yard
(along with blue delphinium and wild black raspberries)

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-30).

Bouquet with lilies on our kitchen table

Any of you feel pretty as a picture (or pretty as a picture of a flower)?
For me, I say, “Not a chance!”

Budding Tiger Lilies on our lane

Most lilies (particularly the common “tiger lilies” that grow everywhere around our home in Michigan), put on an extravagant display in July, but each flower only lasts for a single day, and then withers, often being replaced by another emerging bud.

Peonies and tiger lilies in our garden

Although the (literally) hundreds of lilies growing around our home have to fear being eaten by the deer, they do not fret over what they’re going to wear!


Spring Bouquet

They don’t toil all night spinning the dress of gold they’ll wear on the morrow!

Star-gazer lily in a basket of flowers

And yet, have you ever met any person robed any more elegantly than a lily?

Easter lilies in full bloom

I may just be a sucker for flowers, but I wouldn’t trade the beauty and perfume of a dazzling lily for the most elaborately adorned woman. Would you? (I’m not talking about the woman, I’m talking about how beautiful her dress is . . . and maybe you would think her dress is more lovely than a flower. That’s fine too, but I would not.)

Bouquet of lilies, roses, and babies’ breath

Regardless of how much you prize clothing and shoes and jewelry and accessories, the point is this: God will take care of us if we’ll let him, and He doesn’t want us to spend all our time worrying and fretting about not having or being. He has a better plan for us!

Lilies growing over the edge of our swimming pool

God wants us to grow where we’re planted and concentrate on being and loving, not having and doing! Sound like a good plan?!

Please share your thoughts too!

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