Summary: Jesus told us to study the Lily. The Greek emphasizes it is to be a diligent study. 5 things some digging and thinking that Lilies teach us.
5 Things We Can Learn From Lilies
Text: Matthew 6:28-30
Mt 6:28 "And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,
Mt 6:29 yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. (NASB)
I want to start with this thought and then we will get into our main message:
There are some lessons we miss because we don't read our bible in the original languages. For example in this text Jesus said, "Observe how the lilies of the field..." The word translated observe in the original is:
Katamanthano, (Strongs # 26480) and it means to learn thoroughly, and to examine carefully. Have you ever taken time to study lilies to see what they could teach you? Jesus said you should. It must also be noted that what is translated as lilies of the field can also denote other wildflowers (Robertsons NT Word Pictures), but for purposes of this study we will just discuss lilies.
1. Lilies are the planting of God and not man.
God will supernaturally and by His grace plant beautiful things in unexpected places.
Lilies of the field: The word may include other wild flowers. Point being they spring up where man has not planted them, and they are not weeds, and they bring beauty to the strangest of landscapes. All is not sowing and reaping. God does beautiful things according to the riches of His grace.
Though man may plant them, Jesus is describing those that grow in the wild, without the intervention of man.
An easy comparison can be made between wild flowers like the Lily and salvation. God works in places and environments we would never expect. Lilies grow in some of the strangest environments on earth. The Snowdon grows in alpine tundra. Alpine tundra is a climate that is similar to the polar climate, and represents the area above the tree line on high altitudes. There are desert lilies, lilies that grow in shade, and lilies that grow in sun. A lesson we can take from this is that God can grow flowers in every environment on earth. Even so, God can save people from every language, and people group on earth. He will cause His wildflowers to grow in places that put up the strongest barriers to Christianity on earth. No climate is too harsh for God to grow things.
Another lesson along this line, is that if you are in a desert season, you can take courage that even in a place such as that God can make beautiful things to bloom. Things you didn't work for, or ever expect to see in your present condition.
2, The study of Lilies has proven to be good for the heart.
In our text Jesus uses the observation and study of the lily as a remedy for worry. Scientists who study the chemical composition of the plant we know as the Lily of the Valley derived from it a substance called Convallatoxin. Convallatoxin is similar to medicine digitalis, it is mainly used for acute and chronic heart failure. I think that it is more than a coincidence that Lily of the Valley produces a medicine that is good for your heart health. Scientists have found strong links between worry, stress, and a narrowing of the arteries of the heart. Worry is bad for you, learning from Lilies spiritually and actually is good for your heart health.
3. Lilies are hardier than you think. So are you.
We have mentioned that lilies can grow in deserts and extremely high and cold places. The environment in which you live does not determine whether or not you will bloom, but the person you are inside determines that. Better yet, the God who is inside you (if you are a Christian), can bloom in any environment. You make not like to hear this, but I want you to know that you can have a lot of garbage thrown at you and still be a beautiful fragrance of Christ. In the worst of places you can be an oasis of refreshing.
Though not speaking of lilies in particular this verse speaks of someone that blooms in an otherwise barren landscape, and it says that that is exactly what God wants to do in your life:
Isa 61:3 To grant those who mourn [in] Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. (NASB)
God is not glorified by planting stinkweeds, but lilies that bring beauty and a bouquet of fragrance to the harshest landscapes on earth.