I received unexpected flowers last month and they really made my day. Before you start wondering why I was sent flowers or who sent them – these flowers simply appeared in my yard. I didn’t plant them. I didn’t water them. But I am enjoying them.
Several months back I noticed sprouts appearing throughout my front and back yards. Puzzled by their origin, but not yet knowing the plants were flowers, I left the sprouts to grow. When it came time to mow the lawn for the first time this spring, the plants had grown into healthy, one-foot-tall stalks. By then I could tell that the plants were sunflowers. I am still mowing around these beautiful flowers – enjoying them while they last.
I was disproportionately excited about the flowers at first because I love sunflowers. Awestruck by God’s wonderful creation, my thoughts drifted to His common grace to all people – causing rain to fall on the just and the unjust. However, due to my own circumstances, my thoughts quickly turned to a passage about worry and anxiety.
Matthew 6:25-34 lays bare the shallowness of the human heart as Jesus calls us to seek the Kingdom of God. It reads:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
God’s majestic creation and His common grace brought the flowers to my yard, but the Father had a deeper message for me. It has been quite a stressful spring. At work, I am in the middle of the promoting a lengthy list of events for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s 100th Anniversary. Busy can’t begin to describe this season at work which happened to coincide with the thesis stage of a second master’s degree. Busy. Stressful.
My son is studying at a demanding high school and he is beginning to search for colleges. What will his future hold? What does that mean for us? How are we going to pay for college? More stress.
My wife shares the gospel daily with international students from around the world and often invites them into our home. The gospel urgency of her work makes it stressful. At church, we are saying goodbye to a long-term, beloved pastor. Change is worrisome. And did I mention that I am currently teaching a teenager to drive? Taxes. Making ends meet. Lots of stress.
As I walk by these majestic flowers each day on my way to and from work, I am reminded that God is on His throne and I don’t need to worry. The unexpected flowers reminded me, and still remind me even as they begin to fade: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!”