Friday, October 01, 2010

Flowers and the Bible

            What exactly can we learn from flowers? And for bonus points, who cares what we can learn from them? Christians should give some thought to flowers, not only for their beauty, but also for the things that they can teach us. The Bible uses flowers to teach lessons in several passages of the Bible, so it is obvious that God thought that there was a lot that we could learn from them.
            Matthew 6:28-30 is the passage that most people would think of if the words “flower” and “Bible” were used in connection with each other. These verses state, “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” The message here is that God pays close attention even to flowers, plants that don’t last for very long. We are worth much more than flowers, so we can deduce that God takes care of us even better than He does the flowers.
            The message of Matthew 6:28-30 is very comforting to Christians; however, it is not the only passage in the Bible about flowers. James 1:10-11 says, “And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.” This passage appears to be very similar to that of Matthew at first glance. They both deal with flowers, how flowers fade away, and how people relate to flowers.
While the above passages may seem very similar, a closer inspection brings out a single important difference between them. While Matthew 6:28-30 tells us how we are better than flowers and so more important than them, James 1:10-11 does the opposite in showing us how we are like flowers. In the same way that flowers “are here today and gone tomorrow,” so also people and their accomplishments will vanish. We are as fleeting in God’s sight as flowers are in ours.
The two passages previously mentioned may seem to contradict each other since one talks about how people are more important than flowers while the other one says that they are like flowers; however, these two ideas are reconciled by a third passage of the Bible. I Peter 1:23-25 says, “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, ‘People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.” Matthew states that people are more important than flowers while James says that they are like flowers, and I Peter draws these two seemingly opposed viewpoints into harmony. When it states that “people are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades,” it is agreeing that people are like flowers in that they fade away; in the long scheme of things, they are not important. This idea is balanced out by the beginning of the passage. “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” So it can be seen that while human life is as fleeting and as unimportant as flowers are, Christians receive their life from the word of God and because of this life, we are more important than the flowers of the field.

Hope that you have enjoyed this post.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

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