“Consider the lilies of the fields”
Here in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus took an everyday object, a common little flower, and turned it into a parable for his disciples. Of course in our 21st Century world, it may seem a much less familiar object to us. What is “a lily of the fields”??? Our concrete jungles, our houses with their double glazing and cars with their air conditioning, have cut us off from the natural world, the seasons and the elements. If we do see flowers they are usually either cut and dying or else artificial!
One year, David received a very profound birthday card. It was a picture of a man working at a computer with his back to the sun streaming into the house through the window from the beautiful garden. And the man is saying to himself,
“It’s fantastic! I can find out the exact weather outside this exact house at this exact moment – all on the Internet!”
So to US Jesus says, “Consider the lilies of the field”
When did you last look at a flower. I mean, really LOOK at a flower? There is so much we can learn from the wonders of Creation. But our lives are full of busyness which crowds God out. We surround ourselves with noise which drowns out the silence of eternity.
What is this life, so full of care
We have no time to stop and stare?
Today Jesus says to us, “Consider the lilies of the field”. For when we do, we can learn so many things. The first truth we learn is that
GOD IS OUR CREATOR
In my book Prepared To Give An Answer I discussed the question, HOW CAN I KNOW THAT GOD EXISTS?
BEST: Evidence from the life and ministry of Jesus – point to Jesus!
NEXT BEST: Evidence from personal experience – our own experience of the difference Jesus makes, and the experiences of other Christians through the ages and great Christians today.
NEXT BEST is LOOK AT CREATION
Read Romans 1:18-20. what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Many classical philosophical “arguments for the existence of God” are based on the idea that God revealed Himself in His Creation. “The argument from first cause” says that everything happens as a result of something causing it, and if there was no God then nothing could ever have come into existence. “The argument from design” looks at aspects of creation, from e.g. the greatness of the universe to the minute intricacy of the human brain. Design requires a Designer. Similar arguments can be made from beauty, conscience and spirituality, which could never have “evolved”. So if we want to be sure that God exists – we should look at the glories of Creation!
Maybe flowers aren’t your scene! Maybe it isn’t plants that reveal God’s design to you but planets and stars and galaxies! Or puppies? Or other animals, like squirrels, or red pandas, or the crazy Australian Quokkas. Or perhaps you are inspired instead by sub-atomic particles? Or the beauty which is mathematics. But the whole of creation speaks to us of God as Creator, his power, his wisdom. Praise God for the wonders of Creation!
Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3 There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4 Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
Consider the lilies of the fields, says Jesus. Then that also reminds us that,
GOD IS OUR PROVIDER
MATT 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will
eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
We area nation of worriers! One week I promise I will give you a sermon on “God’s answer to stress” or “Dealing with Anxiety”. But here in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us God’s answer to stress and anxiety.
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Said the Robin to the Sparrow, “I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings Rush about and hurry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin, “Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father Such as cares for you and me.”
We have so many worries and fears. I read some interesting statistics on worry.
An average person’s anxiety is focused on :
40% — things that will never happen
30% — things about the past that can’t be changed – but leave us with guilt
12% — things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% — about health, which gets worse with stress
ONLY 8% — about real problems that actually have to be faced
Jesus’s words are so wise!
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Here is God’s answer to our worries.
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour 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, O you of little faith?
The wonders of creation remind us that God is our provider! God will take care of us!
GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
God is our creator. God is our provider. If we ever doubt that – consider the lilies of the fields. These lead us to our third point which I also made from this passage last Sunday morning.
GOD SHOULD BE OUR PRIORITY
Matt 6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the
field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour 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, O you of little faith?
I wonder if Jesus spoke these words with our own generation in mind. A generation dominated by fashion, by image, by brand names. People chasing around to find acceptance, popularity, friendship on the basis of the style of clothes they wear. People desperately searching for an identity but looking in all the wrong places.
See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.
31 so 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.
When we know God as our Creator and our provider, we don’t need to chase after these things as the rest of the world does. We will obey Jesus’s command:
33 seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When we know God as creator and provider, we don’t need to worry all the time. Instead we can devote ourselves to serving God. God must be our top priority. We seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and we can trust that the God who cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the fields will take care of us too and give us everything we need!
God – our Creator, our Provider, our TOP Priority. That’s the way it should be. But sometimes we can get distracted. What can we do to refocus our lives on God again?
The promise and the invitation are there in Jesus’s words – consider the lilies of the fields!
Of course the most important things are not what we can LEARN ABOUT by considering the lilies of the fields, but what we can EXPERIENCE as we do so. Encountering God as Creator. Experiencing God as Provider. Realising in our hearts as well as in our heads that God must be our first priority.
“Consider the lilies of the fields” Jesus said. And that is exactly what we are going to do for a few minutes! Ideally at this point we would all go out and sit in a field of lilies. But it is dark. If you wanted to go into the garden and pick a flower, or if you already have some actual flowers in the house you could look at, then I suggest you do so for the next five minutes or so. If you can’t do that, then i invite you to find some pictures of flowers on the internet and take some time looking at them and reflecting upon them.
“Consider the lilies of the field.”