Consider the Lilies…

2nd Sunday Before Lent
Genesis 1:1-2:3
Romans 8:18-25
Matthew 6:25-34


Consider the Lilies of the Field (or Don’t Wee Before the Water Comes)

I wonder if any of you here this morning are worriers? I am not a natural worrier – if I am going to worry about something, it tends to be after the event has passed.

How many of you worry about things that don’t ever happen? I think a lot of people tend to worry about things that won’t ever happen! Couldn’t possibly happen! But it might – so worry about it!

This lovely piece of scripture is part of the wider Sermon on the Mount. It is clear that worry was of great concern to people 2000 years ago as it is today. It is likely that we worry about similar things too, Jesus is speaking to the practical needs of food, drink, clothing and housing. Very real issues to an impoverished crowd. Very real issues to many people today.  

Jesus is trying to give his listeners some perspective on their worries, give them a bigger picture of life. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? We are of value to God – more than the birds are and he looks after them. Can you add any hours to your life by worrying?

Believing in our great value to God frees us from much worry. I’m not sure many things compare to the challenge of ceasing to worry. Maybe one reason why it is hard to stop worrying is because we have so many prime opportunities to practice it! Yet we will never overcome worry by eliminating reasons to worry.

One of my Grandmothers was of German descent and she had a saying that loosely and more politely translated from low-German to English was: ‘don’t wee before the water comes.’ What she meant is that we are not to get anxious before there is something to get anxious about.

Jesus would tell us that when these situations arise, and they will, we are to go to him. Jesus sums up the futility of worry in verses 25 & 26 – we can’t add a minute to our life by worrying. Simply put, worry is useless. Even when we seem to worry about ‘important things’; even when we worry in the name of love it will accomplish absolutely nothing. When will we learn to turn our worry effort into prayer?

It would be irresponsible of me to ignore the Genesis reading this morning! Whatever we make of the Genesis account of creation, we are given a view of God that is huge, the creator of everything who made something out of nothing, brought order to chaos, called things into being and they were. God saw that everything he did was good. The big things like the wind and water, light and darkness, sea and sky right down to the seeds to birds to the things that creep along the ground. God took his time to do all these things.

This is a God of the details who created and provides for us.   

The story of Genesis is the origin story of humankind and gives us a place to root our identities. We come from a good God who created a good world and a beloved humanity. (Debie Thomas – June 15,2014: The Best of All Beginnings). Before there was evil, there was goodness. 

Seven times in the creation story we are told we come from a God who sees. God steps back from his work and he looks, he notices each tiny piece. We also come from a God who creates new things. On each of the six days in creation, God made something new. He still does now, today! We wake up every day and there are new things in the world. The snowdrops and daffodils, the tiny buds on the trees. Nothings goes unnoticed. God’s mercies are new every morning!

God is also big enough to take on our worries, our cares. Cast your cares on him.   

As Christians we need to continually learn and re-learn to trust in the providence of God. Jesus uses the birds of the air and the lilies of the field as an example. Birds and lilies can’t provide for themselves – birds neither sow nor reap we are old. Lilies can’t toil nor spin but are beautifully made. We are of more value to God than these.

Finally, we come from a God who rests. We live in a busy, chaotic world. What are we busy doing exactly? We are commanded to stop and rest. God did so can we! The Sabbath is the only thing that is holy in the creation story – it is the only day that God blessed.

When we are tempted to wee before the water comes, we are reminded again this morning to look towards God, not the world, and to trust in his goodness and seek his righteousness. We cannot do this through worry but by spending time with the Father who loves us and feeds and clothes us with all we need.

We come from the best of beginnings, from a glorious Creator with a loving heart who is ready to give us rest and take care of our anxieties.