For some reason I have always rather liked the part of the sermon on the mount where it walks about the lilies of the field. I have always presumed that they are beautiful wild flowers. Well after all it talks about them being well-dressed.
The thing about wild flowers is that they are often quieter and smaller than garden flowers. Men have used the brightest, largest and most showy flowers in their gardens. They leave left the plain small and less noticeable ones in the wild, even in the field. so maybe that is why we think of lilies in the field as wild flowers i.e. quiet, demure, humble and modest.
Look at the comparison though, dressed like Solomon in all his splendour. We think of Solomon as the king who was able to make wise judgements. Well he is credited with writing a large chunk of what is known as the wisdom literature in the bible. Where does splendour come in?
Remember the story of the Queen of Sheba coming to see him to check out if the rumours she had heard were true? She wanted to see the palace and the sort of lifestyle Solomon had for herself. Sounds as though it could have been pretty impressive to make that kind of effort just to see what it was like.
Solomon’s Father David had left everything prepared for his son to build a magnificent temple. There was gold, loads of that plus special timber from miles away. All sitting waiting for Solomon to get on with the task he had inherited. Yet when you read what Solomon built for himself, the temple was quite small in comparison. Seems like Solomon liked to be ostentatious.
We have these flowers being compared to Solomon in his splendour. What is more they do not have to do all the work that is needed for them to look good. They just have to grow. In other words, when grow into all God planned them to be and they will look magnificent. It is not their striving that makes them look good but following God’s plan for their life.
More about these flowers?
It is not even as if they have to be something special to be treated like that either. They are just the common flowers of the fields. Possibly the ones that the farmers are not so keen on seeing as they take up the space that they wanted for their crops. They are the useless plants. The waste of space in the field. Yet they are dressed in the most beautiful clothes that are compared with the king who was known for his riches. Some comparison!
What the bible does say about these flowers is that they are the ones that are tossed into the furnace with the grass. Now my mind is jumping around about here. Doesn’t Jesus have an another story about the seeds he planted growing up with weeds and then the weeds being separated and burnt at the end. Could this story be saying that it is stupid for anyone to strive to be anything that they are not? Could it be saying that even those who are not valued as much as the seeds God planted will be dressed as well as Solomon if they stopped striving to do things their way and let things happen God’s way? Interesting ideas.
What we do know is that if these flowers were tossed into the furnace then they were nothing special. They did not have any particular use for the farmer.
What do we need to do to wear such fine clothes?
Jesus said that struggling and striving was not the answer. Err what about all the personal development and I want to be a success mentors out there? You know the story. You can have the big home and the flashy car if only you do this. Yes it is possible to make that happen in your life, if you try hard enough.
Notice though what the lilies of the field did. They grew into what God wanted them to be. They did not have to force themselves into being something that they were not. They did not have to make themselves unhappy by forcing themselves to work excessive amounts. They could chase after God and do things His way and grow into all that they could be. Then they would look as splendid as Solomon.
BTW if you think Jesus would not like us to wear splendid (aka expensive) clothes there are some who say that there was a time when he was recorded as doing so. Think of the gospel account of the soldiers throwing lots to see who would get the one piece garment that Jesus had been wearing. They say that a one piece garment would have been specially made for him and therefore expensive.