“Consider the Lilies”

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NASB)

I had always read this scripture hearing a painful command to never adorn myself. I heard, “you’re beautiful as a lily without your adornments. So, don’t be jealous of them.” But then, I read that the Israelites received adornments from the Egyptians and I wondered why God gave them adornments? What does this scripture, really, mean?

First, I believe Jesus is pointing to something the people can agree is beautiful: lilies. As though to say, “Let’s start with something we can agree on; lilies are beautiful.”  He elevates the lilies’ beauty over the wealthiest king in the history of the Israeli nation: Solomon. And, when he says, “will He not much more clothe you?” he was saying that the Father is going to give his children beautiful garments, greater than the beauty of the lilies, which is already greater than Solomon’s garments. He didn’t attack the need to feel beautiful. He didn’t argue that we should feel beautiful when we feel bare and without gifts. He didn’t shame the uncertainty we can feel about our heavenly Father’s desire to see us feel beautiful. Instead, he said, “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” In saying this, he includes clothing as a need. So, he pointed out something that, to us, is objectively beautiful. And then said, “know that out of his love for you, your Father will clothe you in greater beauty than King Solomon, greater beauty than the lilies.” 

The point of this scripture is really to ask, “Don’t you know your value? 

I’ll summarize the scripture for you like this, “You are more valuable to God than the birds, than the grass. Notice that He gives them life when they don’t earn it by ‘toil or spinning.’ He takes care of them. Won’t he take care of you? He knows your needs. Don’t anxiously seek after your needs, which would be to give your life away to worry. Remember the Father, letting worry go from your mind, letting rest and trust in His power and in His will to take care of you replace your anxiety. Trust him. Look, he is succeeding at maintaining nature. And, for you, his most precious, He will not simply clothe you by the minimal provision. He is going to clothe you in greater beauty than Solomon, and more than that, in greater beauty than the lilies. Know who you are. Let go of your anxieties. Your Father is able and will take care of you. Don’t add to the worry of today by considering tomorrow’s needs as well. Your Father has got the birds. Your Father clothes the grass, making beautiful something so fleeting. He loves you more.” 

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