28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
My mother loved lilies.
There is a little patch of them that blooms every spring in my grandmother’s yard. I always like to imagine my mother playing near them as a child. I wonder if she watched them sway in the breeze. Did she count their petals? Did she pluck them from the ground to adorn my grandmother’s kitchen table? Did her appreciation for this fair, little flower begin with this same patch of lilies that I now enjoy?
I also wonder…when Jesus spoke the words above from Matthew 6 to the crowd below on the mountain, was He surrounded by lilies? I’d like to think so.
Among the listeners on the mountain, I imagine there was a young family there, not completely sure if they had enough clothing to keep them warm that night. Food, shelter, clothing: basic needs were of primary concern for those hearing the Savior’s voice that day. The father was wondering how much land he would have to toil and the mother was wondering how many threads she would have to spin to safely tuck their children in at night. Anxiety was ripe amid the mountaintop crowd.
And Jesus simply reminds them of the lilies. He does this by asking a rhetorical question, one that was not unfamiliar to the families listening with wide eyes and open ears. They’d have heard that type of question before: an if-this-is-true-then-that-must-be-even-more-true sort of argument which was often posed in the Jewish community of their day. Jesus wanted to speak in a way that was familiar to them: what is true among the light things is even more true among the heavy things.
Consider the lilies, He says. If God takes care of them, then He lavishes care upon you.
I wonder if they took a deep breath after hearing His words and if their anxiety melted away with the knowledge of the truth that God provides and He does so generously. Did they realize the great gift from their Father that reminders of this truth can be found in something that they see everyday?
Lilies. Flowers of the field. Not unlike the sparrows of the sky. They are simple and abundant reminders that God lavishes care upon you.
Clothing may not be at the top of your anxiety list today. But the nagging thing that has requested a seat at your attention table can be firmly turned away. You are considering the lilies.