Christians, Be Wildflowers Not Wallflowers!

[ 16 ] July 6, AD 2013 |

wildflower copyIn Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to “learn from the way the wildflowers grow” (6:28). They do not “work and spin,” they just sway in the wind of their God, accepting whatever comes their way: rain or sun.

So what can we learn from wildflowers?

Here are some ideas:

1. Embrace Your Uniqueness: Wildflowers have an untamed beauty, they are not cultivated in temperature controlled greenhouses. As Christians we are called to be fiercely unique, nonconformists (to the world), and proud of the one-of-a-kind persons God made us to be. Let’s be respectful of one another’s differences, and encourage uniqueness without fear of unorthodoxy.

2. Love Community but Not Groupthink: Wildflowers are unique and yet they are so much more beautiful in groups. They are meant to be in community, it is not just about each wildflower and God. But a wildflower community is not like a garden-flower community. They do not grow in carefully tended rows on manicured lawns; they each sway to the wind of the Word in their own way. Wildflowers obey the wind of God’s will together, but if one bobs in the wind a little differently because a gust hits her in a different way, the other flowers let her do it! Their obedience to God is not robotic, forced or in lock-step with one another. Wildflowers learn from the way each flower sways uniquely in the one wind of God.

3. Do Not Be Consumed with Consumerism: Wildflowers are low-maintenance. They require no expensive fertilizers, no watering. They grow and they die – beautiful and carefree, completely dependent on God. Wildflowers do not go shopping for the latest power tools or hoard twenty unworn pairs of shoes in their closets. They are beautiful without trying to be, wearing only what they need. They do not build mansions for themselves with ten car garages, they are satisfied to sway in whatever weather God sends them, quietly trusting in God whether they face wind, sunshine or storms.

4. Be Wildflowers, Not Wallflowers: Can you imagine a wildflower not being noticed in a field of tired looking grass? Christians are meant to be wildflowers in the world. We have all heard that we should be salt and light, but how about putting on some wild colors (literally or figuratively) and getting our Christian groove on! Wipe that grim look off your face and smile! We are the children of God, if we don’t have something to smile about, who does? Sure, we face the lawnmowers of secularism and the heavy boots of relativism, but we are looked after by the Master of the Universe. What do we have to fear?

So come on my fellow Christian wildflowers, let’s peel ourselves off the wall and leave behind our wallflower ways.

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Category: Columnists, Life, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

About the Author ()

Sr. Theresa Noble is a novice, aka nun in training, with a religious congregation of sisters in the US. She left her job in California with eBay to follow God four years ago. She currently lives in a convent in Boston where she prays, evangelizes, bakes bread and blogs at Pursued by Truth (http://pursuedbytruth.blogspot.com/).
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  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Sister, I never noticed that line! And how many times have I read that passage, only God knows. You have enlightened me today! God bless.

  • Jim

    Jesus spoke of lilies not wildflowers. Enormous difference with implications. Lilies are chaste, modest, and meek, silent, and residing in the humus springing forth only when coaxed for right-reason. They in other words like the Redemptoris Custos, Joseph himself, Sub-deacon of the Lord. Wildflowers are popularly seen as otherwise.

    Ite ad Ioseph: et quidquid
    ipse vobis dixerit, facite.

  • Sr Marianne Lorraine Trouve

    I also prefer the translation “lilies of the field” which to me is much more beautiful. I checked Fr Harrington’s commentary and the Greek word “krina” does mean lilies but he says it can also refer to wildflowers.
    But that’s not to quibble over the main point of the article which is a good one. The lilies translation also evokes the movie which was all about trusting in divine providence.

  • Carol Grina

    This fits quite well with a ministry called “In the Wildflowers” created by Julie Woodley. A DVD series to bring healing to the hearts of those who have been sexually abused and traumatized. An important part of healing comes in discovering the beauty of who Father God says we are, not who the abuser.. Knowing Jesus “The Lily of the Valley” and that we can look at the lilies of the field or the wildflowers and learn is a beautiful picture indeed. Thank you Sr T
    Theresa Noble

    • Sr. Theresa Noble

      Carol, Thank you for sharing this with me, I just looked up the organization you mentioned. What a beautiful work of the Lord, I will keep this organization in my prayers.

  • Sr. Theresa Noble

    Sr. Lorraine and Jim,

    Very interesting discussion! I always love digging a little deeper into Scripture, there are so many layers of meaning. I did a little research and found that although the literal meaning of the Greek word is “lilies” it is likely that Jesus was referring to what we would consider wildflowers.

    Here are some interesting article I found on the subject:

    http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/1584/

    http://ww2.odu.edu/~lmusselm/plant/bible/lily-of-the-field.php

    Manny and Carol, so glad you enjoyed the post!

    Peace and blessings,

    Sr. Theresa

  • Louise M. Sandberg

    I am a facilitator of “In the Wildflowers” mentioned by Carol. Last night Julie Woodley herself read this blog to all 12 of us who were on a conference call, preparing to bring the wildflowers to Uganda to help heal women there who have been abused. Thank you for inspiring us. Scripture is truly the living word, springing forth like the wildflowers, as fresh and beautiful and new today as the day it was written, richer for all those who have prayed and meditated the very same passages before us. We will take your images with us, and pray on them through this week. This new look at the scripture challenges me to “put aside what I know and what I think I know” to make room for the new wine.

    • Sr. Theresa Noble

      Louise,

      What a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful that you shared this with me. My prayers are with you and all the people who participate in and are blessed by the important work that you do.

      In Jesus,

      Sr. Theresa

      • Louise M. Sandberg

        Today I took my 11 year old patient to camp. He has a skin disorder and needs to have access to nursing care if his skin is compromised. He was a “delicate flower” who is becoming a wildflower. When I returned to pick him up, I suddenly noticed a field of tiger lilies, wild lilies. I felt like God was showing it to me. As I waited for my patient, I felt God’s presence, as if God was showing me the care God takes in dressing and caring for those beautiful flowers. Because I read this blog and prayed on it, I was open to being touched by the presence and beauty of the flowers as God’s gift.

      • Sr. Theresa Noble

        Beautiful!

      • Kathleen

        Beautiful witness

  • Stephen Sparrow

    Yes, wildflowers etc etc. I have a TA friend (teetering atheist) [aren’t we all teeterers deep down], anyway this friend is a retired scientist & widower who now realizes that his atheism is a ‘faith’ but he haunts garage sales and picks up things, binoculars, books etc for 50cents a pop. Anything religious he
    buys and gives to me – some of this stuff I quietly drop in the wheelie bin but
    eighteen months ago he gave me two books; a six version parallel New Testament, and “All The Plants of The Bible” by British scripture scholar and botanist Winifred Walker. The plant book has beautiful line drawings and descriptions as well as the sometimes multiple scripture references to
    various plants and their likely true names.

    Walker cleared up for me at least what I used to think was a misprint in the
    RSV, viz the differences between Sycamine and Sycomore – sycamine is a mulberry and sycomore a type of fig, and then in some versions I’ve seen a spelling of sycamore which is a sort of deciduous maple and I doubt it grows anywhere near Syria. According to Miss Walker the lilies of Ecclesiasticus 50 : 8 refer to Iris palaestina and the lilies of Song of Solomon 5 : 15 refer to Lilium chalcedonicum, BUT the lilies of the field in Luke 12 : 27 and Matthew 6 : 28 refer to Anemone coronaria or windflower (yes windflower) and which is common on waste ground in the Middle East. That’s what this authority says anyway. My copy was published by Lutterworth Press in London in 1958. I see abebooks.com list fifty three copies for sale starting at $1.00.

    Incidentally two weeks ago my TA friend dropped off a copy if Barbara
    Thering’s “Jesus the Man” I think it is destined for the wheelie bin. Anyway, nice post Sr Teresa.

    • Sr. Theresa Noble

      Stephen, what a lovely, (and interesting!) comment and a lovely friend. Your TA friend will be in my prayers; I hope he teeters off the fence and into God’s wildflower fields one of these days!

  • MaryLynn1

    I am looking out my window right now in Michigan to see beautiful bright orange lillies growing in the wild on the side of the road. They are definitely lillies, I have some in my yard too, and they grow even when you neglect them, reproduce, and come up every year. I think of them when I hear that passage.

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