Although I could never choose just one scripture as my favorite, the Sermon on the Mount, including Jesus’ words “…consider the lilies of the field” would certainly be included among my most loved sections in the New Testament.
Mother Nature has a way of settling things, bouncing back from disaster, naturally unfolding according to proper heavenly pattern. The lilies about which Jesus spoke remind us to settle ourselves, seek for and follow patterns, and strive to be in harmony with the One who watches over all creation.
Sometimes, as I’m focusing in on preparation for a class, column or lesson, I’ll go to YouTube’s collection of Mormon Tabernacle hymns. This morning I enjoyed this one, it’s lyrics including verse from the New Testament’s book of Matthew:
The Savior’s perfect parables were suited to help his disciples seek first for the kingdom of God. While we are seeking, dealing with the ups and downs of daily life [and struggling to keep our balance], what a gift we have in reading Christ’s counsel directly!
In Matthew 6:30, Jesus asks, “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?”
I love the power of this scripture when I fret over “How will I…” or “What am I going to do about…” issues. Getting distracted, I lose focus of where my energies should be placed. Our value to Father in Heaven- our beauty and worth- are far above the lilies of field, which are arrayed in nature’s splendor. They neither toil nor spin, but their natural majesty is greater than all of Solomon’s worldly goods. They fulfill the measure of their creation.
What a good lesson. The things of this world will never, in any way, equal the beauty that is God-given. Jesus instructed that we seek to clothe ourselves in holy garments, full of truth and light, rather than accumulate the corruptible possessions of earth. It is the counter measure to the strife and stress of ‘making it’ in this world, or keeping up with the Joneses. It’s also a lovely compensation if we should ever think ourselves less than our neighbor, simply because they possess more stuff, have a bigger bank account, are more popular, or have more of…. Anything of this earth!
Elder M. Russell Ballard gave great counsel when he said, “The ride through mortality can be smoother for us when we strive to stay in balance. Our main goal should be to seek “for immortality and eternal life’ [Moses 1:39]. With this as our goal, why not eliminate from our lives the things that clamor for and consume our thoughts, feelings, and energies without contributing to our reaching that goal?” [Ensign, May 1987, p.16.]
It sounds like good advice to me. And it allows me to think of those lilies of the field – how they grow – and the beauty they bring. They do, indeed, ‘bloom where they’re planted.’ God’s watchful eye is upon them. They beautify with their clothing of radiant nature, even though in time they will be hewn down in the field.
How much more will our Father tend to us. It’s a gift to keep ourselves focused on Christ, to deflect our notions of being immersed in the less important issues, and lose balance. The ‘here and now’ is no trade off for the long term goals. Those lilies of the field are a reminder for us to balance the disappointments with the times of rejoicing, and keep facing toward the Son.
What a kind and good reminder we’re given in Matthew. Now, I think I’ll watch the Choir’s rendition one more time – then go about my duties of the day. J
Vickey has taught Church Education System programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com