'Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow." That was Christ Jesus' instruction to his disciples in his Sermon on the Mount. He spoke in Aramaic. But today there are Bible translations in so many other languages, which carry his message around our world.
To consider something means to think carefully about it. And that was clearly Jesus' intention; he wanted his followers to do more than just look at the flowers. He wanted them to think carefully about what they were seeing when they looked.
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow," he said; "they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matt. 6:28, 29). The magnificence of Solomon, who had been king of the Jewish people before Jesus' time, was proverbial. So for Jesus to indicate that the glory of the wildflowers was greater even than that of Solomon was no small thing.
Jesus, who would come to be known as the master Christian, was speaking to a select group of his followers - and to all generations. Today the complete Sermon on the Mount is found in the book of Matthew (see Chaps. 5-7). It is a timeless message. It tells truths directly applicable to all of us, wherever we may be.
I am sitting on a hillside in New Zealand now, thinking of those words of Jesus' and considering a small blue flower that's growing among the tussock grass. It is telling me that in order to fulfill our individual purpose in life, we don't have to hustle and bustle and push and strive to be the greatest, the biggest, and the best. That we are known by God, who created us. That our purpose is to express God's great love, goodness, and wisdom.
In this quiet place far from roads and beaten tracks, this one flower, by its very existence, is informing me that our expression of God is not dependent on the presence of an audience or the approval of friends, relatives, or employers. Wherever we are - on city streets, on high mountains, at sea, in the air - we are able to express the nature of God and express it well. This holds true whether or not anyone else is present.
We express the love of God by having a loving nature. We express the peace of God by being at peace within ourselves. And we express the joy of God in our lives by being happily aware of the unlimited goodness in God's universe.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science underlying Jesus' teachings and healing works, wrote in her primary work on Christian Science: "If we look to the body for pleasure, we find pain; for Life, we find death; for Truth, we find error; for Spirit, we find its opposite, matter. Now reverse this action.
Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you
will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy
of your thoughts" ("Science and Health With
Key to the Scriptures," Pgs. 260-261).
This instruction, which describes the healing approach of Jesus, proved effective in my life at a time when I was seriously ill and not getting any better. I relied on prayer for healing. At a particularly low point, some flowers growing outdoors caught my attention. I thought of Jesus' advice to consider the lilies.
Flowers in quantity seemed too much for me to cope with. Nevertheless, I found that I could focus on one flower. So I did that. I considered the good and true qualities of one flower. Some of them are beauty, freshness, and innocence. These are spiritual qualities because they have God as their source. My sense of good increased. Progressively, I began to see more good around me - in the other flowers. In other people. And in myself. My health improved, and before long I was back to a normal state of physical well-being.
Science and Health states on its first page that "the time for thinkers has come" (Pg. vii). It goes on to explain how good thinking (spiritual understanding) and doing (obedience to moral and spiritual law) bring good results (healing). Practice proves Christian Science to be true. It's worth considering.