Lilies of the Field
One of my former Bible school classmates (Abigail Leavitt) is pursuing a PhD in biblical archaeology in Israel. Currently, she is heavily involved as an assistant director of excavations going on at Shiloh, one of the resting places for the tabernacle. This past week, she posted photos of the wildflowers and almond tree blossoms over in Israel right now (see graphic above). After seeing these photos, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6, and, I couldn’t help but think that these might be some of the wildflowers Jesus was talking about when He spoke of “the lilies of the field.” Jesus said these wildflowers aren’t spinning and laboring to be dressed like they are, yet God provides for them and they are beautiful (more so than even Solomon!).
But Jesus also spoke of the birds. When I look out my office this week, I’ve seen several birds (back for spring) feeding on the trees even though it’s the last week of winter and there’s not much left on them as far as I can tell. They haven’t stored anything up. They haven’t sown any seeds. Yet, they aren’t worried at all about God’s provision for them! They are trusting God to provide each day as needed. Jesus’ point is not that we should disregard working and earning a living any more than the birds should stop searching for food. His point is that we don’t have to worry! We don’t have to get all worked up about having enough to meet our needs. God, the Creator and Sustainer over everything, is going to provide. So relax! Don’t waste all of your energy living for material things. Godless pagans do that (v. 32). If He provides for the birds and the wildflowers—which have relatively little value compared to man and only last a short time—how much more will He provide for you, oh you of little faith?
This isn’t a new truth. Most of us have read Matthew 6 many times with precious thoughts of God's care for us. But sometimes we need the reminder. And sometimes a truth doesn’t hit us like it should because we are so self-sufficient. This text is easy to read when you’re sitting well on a stockpile of cash and a full freezer. But it’s a serious test of faith for those who don’t have much or those who’ve lost everything due to reasons or circumstances outside their control, or maybe those whose eyes are glued to the stock market right now.
Just before this teaching (“For this reason,” v. 25), Jesus said just we can only serve one master—money or God. One master is undependable. It can sprout wings and fly away (Prov. 23:5), leaving you anxious. Anxiety can disable you and your testimony, leaving you unfruitful for the kingdom of God. Warren Wiersbe said,
“Worry about tomorrow does not help either tomorrow or today.
Anxiety not only makes us unfruitful, it can also be harmful to our physical well-being.
However, the other Master (Yahweh-, the sovereign, personal, covenant-keeping, always-present, all-sufficient one as we've been talking about in Exodus), is completely dependable. He is a loving heavenly Father who cares for us and provides for us.
Nature itself teaches us that God provides for His creatures’ needs. How much more His children’s needs! Rather than living for the things of the world and getting all worked up about what we have or don’t have, Jesus commands us to trust and obey God while being busy about His will and His righteousness. While we serve our Master with singlemindedness, He will see to it that we are taken care of.
In Christ with you,
 Photos: Courtesy Abigail Leavitt, https://abigailsarchaeologicaladventures.wordpress.com. See blog post, “A New Adventure”
 Warren Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2007), 24.
 Thomas L. Constable, Notes on Matthew, 211.
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