Consider the Lilies of the Field
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
I’m a bad gardener. My most prized vegetables have been a tomato that looked like Richard Nixon, a bell pepper that looked like Jimmy Durante, and a carrot that looked like a turnip. When I grow a garden–if I grow a garden–I take every shortcut imaginable, from the “fire hose” watering technique to praying that the weeds are really just happy mutations of exotic vegetable plants. But alas, I have reaped what I have sown. I’m lucky to have generous friends who keep me well-stocked with squashes, tomatoes, peppers, root veggies, and fruits of the vine, none of which resemble presidents or comedians.
The most notable victims of my bad gardening are my tiger lilies. They were here when I moved into this property, and they’re still here looking the same as always, and always arriving in their full glory as summer sets on. I’ve always more or less ignored my tiger lilies. In spite of being pulled up, trampled, starved of water, frozen, invaded by animal interlopers, and every other insult a plant could imaginably bear, my tiger lilies, like the proverbial cat, just keep coming back.
My dad who sprouted from generations of farmers, and was a farmer and expert gardener himself, probably looks down at me, shaking his head in dismay. I’m a bad gardener, yes, but Pappy would be proud that I am nevertheless an observer of the natural world. There is something about tiger lilies you may not know. They are ardent followers of the sun. Like their lowly cousins, sunflowers, lilys’ countenances, the cups of their flowers, agape with awe, follow the sun’s orb, sunup to sundown. They close their modest petals at night, and on overcast days, they simply wrap themselves against the clouds, waiting for the sun’s return.
Lilies are tough, resilient, beautiful, and worshipful perennials. They never give up in spite of assaults from nature and affronts from bad gardeners like me. Having been a watcher and admirer of my tiger lilies for many years, I understand now why the Lord, Jesus Christ, used them to exemplify living a simple, virtuous life. Their nourishment comes from nature; rain, soil, the permeating sun. They do no work of their own accord to become nature’s crowning beauties, they simply are–and the most ornately arrayed rulers of the earth, with all their worldly wealth, cannot compare to the intricate loveliness of a hedge of lilies. And lilies, concerned only for the essentials of life, are unconquerable, and will always overcome all manner of abuse and adversity, to return in June.
The strength of lilies lies in their unquenchable thirst for sunlight, and their unending devotion to following their source of Life, the Sun.
When pondering upon the complexities of our own lives, let us consider the lilies of the field.
by Marjorie Haun 7/8/13