What does the biblical reference to “lilies of the field” mean? What was Jesus trying to tell the believers?
In Matthew chapters five and six, Jesus gives the beatitudes or sometimes called the Sermon on the Mount and he asks: “Why are you worried about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither labor nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of them.”(Matthew 6: 28-29). The meaning seems clear in the context of this paragraph (Matt 6: 25-34) as he had commanded his listeners (and us) “don’t worry about your life, what you’re going to eat or drink, or your body, what you’re going to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothes”(Mt 6:25). It sounds easy, but it’s so hard to do, isn’t it? What can help us consider lilies?
Watch the birds
By helping us better understand anxiety and hopefully learn to deal with it, Jesus wants us to just look at nature. He uses birds as an example saying “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap, nor gather in barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than them”(Mt 6:26). Yes, we are more valuable to God than birds, not that he does not appreciate them too. We can’t imagine tomorrow, but neither are the birds. Why worry about something we can’t control. They don’t care (if they could!). God always provides for them. Maybe that’s what Jesus is telling us. How Can Worry Help Us? Our Lord says “which of you by being anxious can add just one hour to its lifespan»(Mt 6,27)? The answer is obvious. Neither of us can add even a second to his life. It is in fact quite the opposite. Having anxiety and living in a state of worry will shorten your lifespan.
Trust in god
Fear can be about as opposed to trust as there is. If fear is directly to the north, then confidence is to the south. I have to admit I had times of fear but that tells God that I lack confidence in him, however when you really learn to trust your fear can go away. Jesus asks his listeners (and us) “why are you worried about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither labor nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of them.”(Matthew 6: 28-29)? Perhaps his point is that the lilies do not work in the fields and yet they fulfill their purpose in beauty. They seem to grow almost effortlessly. Solomon in all his glory needed toil and spinning, but still could not compare to the lilies of the field.
Different or the same?
We are told to come out of the world (Jer 51:45; Rev 18: 4), just as Paul writes: “come out from among them and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; so i will welcome you“(2 Cor 6:17) but if we are constantly worried”What are we eating?’ or “What shall we drink?” or ‘What are we going to wear“(Mt 6:31) how are we different from the world because”the Gentiles are looking for all these things”(Mt 6: 32a)? What a waste of energy because “your Heavenly Father knows you need them all”(Mt 6: 32b). Jesus’ conclusion to all of this is “do not worry about the next day, because tomorrow will be worried for itself. Enough for the day is its own problem”(Mt 6:34) because we cannot control tomorrow; only today, so why waste time and effort on it? Consider the lilies.
Hope you have been helped by this lily of the field study. It should strengthen your faith in God as you look around you. You can see that God is faithful to his created creatures and always provides for their needs. Will he do less for you? He also wants to shower more blessings on you if you trust him. If you are not born again, Jesus has a message for you; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him(John 3:36).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is the pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the senior editor of What Christians Want To Know, whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.