Consider the Lilies

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28,29).
A few years ago Bangladesh was listed as the poorest country in the world. Famines and wars have struck in other places since then, and that ranking may have changed, but prosperity is still a long ways off for the people in this Asian nation. A recent Sunday visit to several fishing villages in the tidal region just north of the Bay of Bengal reminded me of just how harsh and difficult life can be here.
As we walked into one village, however, we passed a home that presented a neat, bright appearance. There were the same dirt, stick and thatch huts seen everywhere. The slack tide revealed long expanses of mud and the “yards” were mere squares of swept dirt. But this house had a neat twig fence around it, pathways of raised, packed dirt, and a bright display of marigolds and Hibiscus in full flower. Someone had taken time to create a pocket of beauty in spite of poverty and hardship.
Several points suggested themselves to me as we passed. First, no matter our circumstances, we can contribute to our own enjoyment and that of others. I am reminded of Jesus’ compliment for the woman who washed his feet in perfume, “She has done what she could” (Mark 14:8). This family, whoever they were, could bemoan their poverty and the bleakness of their environment. But they do not. They improve it, even by a little, and the difference really has to be seen to be appreciated. Don’t sit and moan and complain. Plant a flower. Pick up some litter. Show love for beauty and appreciation for the world God has made for us.
Secondly, I could not help but think that this oasis of beauty reflected a woman’s touch. Call me a male chauvinist or a “sexist pig” if you will, but I don’t know many men who have the same instinct or desire to “pretty up” a house in quite that way. Paul commanded Titus to see that young Christian wives are taught to be “home-makers” (Titus 2:5). The positive influence of such a woman is a tremendous blessing, on her husband, her children, and her neighbors. A Christian wife may work in many different ways to help her family and her church, but keeping her home clean and neat and her family fed and clothed is certainly basic.
Finally, I thought of Acts 14:17. “Nevertheless he did not leave himself without witness, in that he did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” This world, its beauty, and its blessings, is our gift from a good and loving God. He is the creator, who “has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). Whether it be the bright colors of a flower, the aroma of fresh bread, or the laughter of a happy child, the little pleasures of daily life remind us that we live in a beautiful and good world. God is good! He loves us! And we praise him!

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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