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Consider The Lilies (5-9-2007)
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Consider The Lilies

"Observe how the lilies of the field grow."
Matthew
6:28b

 There is a well-known saying that we need to "stop and smell the roses.", meaning, take time to relax from the press of life and enjoy literally smelling the flowers.  Metaphorically, it encourages us to let go of our troubles for a spell and "chill out", be rejuvenated and be replenished. Ahhhhhh! Perhaps that is a part of what Jesus was telling the people of his day when he said, "Consider the lilies."

Lilies vary depending on where they grow. Some are rooted in the earth with massive systems of tubers, but then there are those like the water lilies.Let's "consider the [water] lilies." What do you notice about them? The obvious is that in their natural habitat water lilies live close to the edges of ponds in brackish or swampy water.
 
Consider that these lilies have long, flexible roots which anchor them deep into the substance at the bottom of the pond. But what is this substance anchoring them? The lily's foundation is made up of rotted plant and animal deposits; a slimy, putrid, truly nasty compost. Yet, this muck is what they live and grow in and from it they are nourished.
 
Consider also how the lilies never fight the ripples or waves which adjust their position. They surf on them and stay afloat supported by their roots. Consider, that from this slimy habitat of decay and green swampy death, the lily offers, for its labors, among the most beautiful and fragrant blossoms found anywhere on earth.  Out of death and decay, the lily finds life, beauty and the strength to give off a sweet scent. 

For us, to bloom where we are planted is a challenge. In Christ's day, he asked the people to "consider the lilies". Times were very hard for them. The Jews were beat down and over-taxed by their Roman rulers up to 39% of their earnings, plus an extra 15% tribute to ensure Caesar’s life of luxury. They were in the muck and decay of an unfair system that left them with little to live on, and not much hope for the future. Jesus was encouraging them to “bloom” in whatever situation they found themselves? 
 
Is Christ offering this opportunity to us today in our dire circumstances of despair and want? Would we listen as willingly as we think they should have? The truth is, through his word, Christ does challenge us to do the same today.

Five times between verses 25-34 of Matthew 6, the Lord says "do not be anxious". Don't worry so much about everything. Why? Christ was not brushing off the real issues we all face, but he did say that worrying will not make it any better.  Plus, worrying cripples our faith. When we worry and fret we forget to look to God for His promises in faith, and we eventually break down in hopelessness.
 
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe", (Heb.11:6).  Another text tells us that “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of confidence, a sound-mind and love”, (2 Timothy 1:7).

So, if God watches over the lilies, will he not look after us too?  Surely He does!  Even though our roots pass through the slime and sludge of life's misery, secure your faith-roots deep in believing the promises 
 
of God.  Ride above the waves of your deepest distresses, your biggest disappointments, your most crushing heartaches.  But through it all, bloom!  Bloom? Yes, praise God, give Him thanks and let others hear your sincere gratitude and good attitude. Serve God especially when feeling discouraged with a good attitude.
 
Even as we expect the lilies to bloom, and as we are blessed by their offerings of loveliness and sweet fragrance, the world will be lighter and brighter and smell a whole lot sweeter because of our bloom. Be a lily.

–pastor m. moses andradé