Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Consider the Lilies

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not;
and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

Anemone coronaria

I've been thinking about my tulips that did not bloom this spring. I planted them in late summer when they should have been planted in the fall. So, my long awaited tulip explosion for spring 2005 will just have to wait until spring 2006 as my anticipation came and went, realizing my error in the proper planting techniques of these beautiful flowers. Yet I couldn't help thinking about them as summer is near and the tulips have faded away. So I decided to do some research! The first thing I discovered is that the tulip is part of the lily family, or better known to science types as Liliaceae. An easier name to remember would be Lilium. At one time the Onion was considered part of this group, but I think they have now moved that around some. So tulips and lilies are related to each other!

This is called the yellow lilium. Many think this is the lily mentioned in Matthew and Luke as the lilies of the field, but after looking into this some, many that study botany believe that these are not the ones mentioned. Granted, my quick research is probably not that accurate, but it is not my intent to educated anyone on the history of lilies or tulips, as my thoughts are centered around the verse above and the fact that my tulips did not bloom this spring. You're probably wondering how I went from lilies to tulips? Don't worry, I was wondering the same thing myself!

I'm not trying to document the lily through a crash course from this little article! No, my thoughts are on what Jesus meant when he said "yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these". So I decided to take a closer look and see if I could find some common ground. After all, I certainly know how beautiful my tulips would have been if only I had planted them the right way the first time. I'll get back to the lilies in just a moment but first I want to offer some understanding what was meant in the verse above. After looking around some, I found that John Gill gives a pretty good explanation. He says in Matthew, these words are premised to it, "and why take ye thought for raiment? there will be no need of it, when it considered how the lilies, or tulips, or any other flowers grow up out of the earth, and in what a fine beautiful dress they appear, without any care or labour of their own, and even without the care and management of a gardener; for flowers of the field are here meant.

Without care or management? Hmm.. that explanation does make a lot of sense. You see, the tulips that I planted came from the yard of an old lady that lived across the street from me. She has since moved and I haven't seen her for about three years now. Her son comes by often enough to keep things in order. Long ago she had told me if I ever wanted something from her yard to come on over and take what I wanted. Some thirty five years later, I finally took her up on that offer. The strange thing is, not only six years ago I never noticed her tulips! Only after I accepted the Lord Jesus as my savior did I even begin to notice flowers.

These are my Red Tulips. They're called
Red Triumphs. Long before I decided to claim her tulips as my own, the thought kept coming to me; what if they sell that house? Those tulips would need a good home. Now I know that sounds strange so allow me to explain my thoughts on this. A house down the street was recently sold and the new owners dug up the whole yard. Not so strange I know, but if they had known what they had done they probably would not have done it! What did they do you may be wondering? They dug up the Moss Phlox!

These are
Moss Phlox. For several years, I would watch them come alive, flowing over the stone walls in an eruption of spring color. I don't think the new owners knew much about them, probably thinking they're weeds or something. My grandma had them on the side of her house for as long as I can remember. Okie, I know what your thinking, this has nothing to do with lilies or tulips, right? Well it does. You see, I wanted to claim those tulips long before any new owners would start digging up the yard, not realizing they were there, waiting for spring so they would burst into full bloom, if only for a few short weeks of brilliant glory!

So, last summer I devised a plan and waited anxiously for spring to arrive. I watched and waited for them to pop out of the ground so I could locate where they were. Finally, the moment had arrived! My plan was ready to be put into action. I decided to go for it, setting out haphazardly to Margaret's yard with spade in hand. My neighbor across the street, who lives next door to Margaret's house, started laughing at me as he watched me go into her front yard and began to dig them up like a true tulip solider of fortune. Boy, did I feel like a little flower thief! Now I know why the Dutch got so crazed with this flower. I knew that Margaret would want me to have them though. I have known her all my life and she was the perfect neighbor. I often think about her and hope all is well. She must be around 90 or so by now.

No care or management? That is true as every year her red tulips would pop up with no effort at all, and noticeable to me like a bright beacon shining my way. My thoughts were on Margaret and how her house seems so empty now. Yet those tulips gave the house life, a warm look, as if I could still see her working in the yard. But those days are long gone as she has moved away. Whatever grows in her yard now is on its own. Reminds me of the verse above; they toil not, they spin not.

Balfour's Plants of the Bible states:
The lilies spoken of in the New Testament (Matthew and Luke) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract the attention of the hearers"

These are the
Red Turk's Cap lilies Lilium Chalcedonicum. They have an interesting history and would be worth the time to look into it if that is your passion. As for me, I simply am reminded of the verse given in Matthew and Luke concerning these most beautiful flowers. Jesus said a few verses before he mentions the lilies:

"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

"Take no thought" The Hebrew word used for thought is merimnavw, which actually translates to; anxious. The thought in this parable is not to be anxious and to put your trust in God. As I sat in my front yard considering my tulips, indeed it was true, I was anxious for nothing, knowing that if I would give a little thought to the things that are evident, my heart and soul would be calmed, for I can do nothing to bring forward even one day.

Well, I think I will go back outside to consider the flowers and not be so anxious as I sit back and look at the lilies of the field. What great lessons there are to be learned, even from the tulips. They do speak to us in clear and revealing ways. Have you stopped and noticed the wildflowers of the field? If not, maybe today would be a good day to start. Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, they spin not. How about you friend, are you toiling in anxiety today? If so, then do as I have discovered! Plant a few tulips and enjoy their majestic beauty.

Oh, and by the way, I did leave a few tulips in Margaret's yard for next spring and for the new owners who are sure to come. Maybe that would help them not be so anxious as well. I wonder if Margaret has any idea how her red tulips have lived on in such a way. I suspect that she just might.

Yellow lilium and Red Triump's courtesy of
" are a group of Christians coming from various parts of the French speaking part of Switzerland. The Creation of God amazes us so much that we want to share it with you. This site is therefore dedicated to offer you some samples of His wonders of nature in pictures. Do you see these marvellous landscapes which express the greatness of God? Do you see the gentleness of those little animals, which express the tenderness of God"?
Anemone coronaria, from The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Moss Phlox from Valleybrook International Ventures Inc
Red Turk's Cap lilies from Van Bourgondien Bros

Copyright Wendell Leahy
published by


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