Tuesday, 01 July 2014 14:36

Lilies in the Shade

Written by  Sam Whatley
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A line of Osage orange (mock orange) trees grows by our house. This line once separated a forty-acre field from its twenty-acre neighbor. Mock orange trees grow profusely and their limbs intertwine with others, creating a dense, leafy, mesh of long thorns and green balls. Over the past fifty years the fields have turned into houses and streets, and the sixty-foot giants now separate cul-de-sacs.

Last year in a storm, a massive limb from one of these trees cracked, snapped, and fell, covering most of one side of our house. No great damage was done, but the cleanup was extensive. Suddenly we saw a gap of blue sky in the middle of the overgrowth above us.

 

Which brings me to the lilies. Under the tree which lost a limb there is a clump of three lilies which used to bloom. They were blooming 15 years ago, when we moved here, but stopped soon after. We wondered why. After a few years we discussed digging them up, but never did.

 

This year they shot up stems three feet tall, blooming bright yellow and orange. We wondered what changed. Then it hit us. The sun now sends a shaft of light for several hours every day on a spot that has been in the shade for 13 years.

 

Which brings me to my point.  Sunlight is the source of energy the flowers need to bloom. We know about photosynthesis, but this startling example showed us how significant and beautiful it can be.

 

In our lives we need a source of spiritual synthesis. And without that source we have no motivation or ability to reflect God’s love. We become petty, dull and grouchy. Jesus said it this way: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12 (NIV)

 

Most of us have spent time trying to bloom or produce without the true source of spiritual energy. We have struggled with church attendance, tithing, and Bible study, but we just couldn’t seem to make it anything but hard work. Maybe it’s because we have allowed a stand of tall trees to block our view.

 

Is there a beautiful tree blocking out God’s light in your life? I am not against trees. We appreciate our leafy canopy that provides a home for birds and squirrels, but we appreciate the flowering lilies, too. The Lord sent a storm to our house. Among other things, it taught us that he can cut back on one beauty to allow another to flourish.

 

Many hindrances to our spiritual growth are good things. We like rewarding jobs, an attractive home, active children and grandchildren, perhaps even a favorite vacation spot. These things are not bad in themselves, but they can grow out of control. They can take away the time and resources we need to devote to the Lord and His work. If something consistently stands between you and your willingness to go to God in prayer, stop and think about what it is. If you cannot cut it to the ground, at least take out a major limb. If something repeatedly keeps you away from your house of worship, search it out and deal with it.

 

I like good movies. I like good books. But if entertainment, in whatever form, starts to steal some sunlight away from my study of Scripture, I have to own up to my mixed-up priorities and change how I spend my time.

 

You love your spouse, your children, and grandchildren. But don’t let them pull you away from worshiping with God’s family.

 

 

“Consider how the lilies grow.” 

Luke 12:27 (NIV)

 

 

 They need light and warmth. And so do we. In fact, we need to be light and warmth for other folks. The Lord said, “… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

 

When Jesus ascended into Heaven He sent His Holy Spirit to be that light in our lives. He loves us enough to take away the things that have grown up between us and God, even if He has to send a storm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Sunday, 03 August 2014 14:41
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