“Consider the ravens for they neither sow nor reap…..” Luke 12:24

“Consider the lilies how they grow they neither toil nor spin…..”  Luke 12:27

“Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32

I would like you to do something for me.  If you are in a place where you can actually look out a window or are outside then that is good (unless you’re in an automobile and need to concentrate on the road).  If not close your eyes and try a visualization for me (again if you’re in a car; keep your eyes open!)  I want you to see a bird.  Look as it hops around or flits from one branch to another.  Next I want you to look for a flower.  Notice the beauty of the different colors and parts that make up the flower.

For this next part it, I want you to use your imagination and it may require you to close your eyes.  I want you to visualize that bird now with a cell phone in one of it’s feet; maybe with a cigarette in it’s beak or a large cup of coffee grasped in its other talon (I know now the image is getting a little weird).   The expression on the bird’s face is concerned with a frown and it is pacing back and forth (if a foot is clear).  Visualize the flower or plant.  Imagine that it is trying to look at all aspects of itself.  It is wondering if its stem looks fat or not.  It wants to make sure that only one side is visible because that is its best side.

I know the portraits painted by the second paragraph are pretty ridiculous for a bird and a flower/plant.  Then we look in the mirror.  For our behavior, the second paragraph is not as much a visualization as it is a memory.  This is how the world says we should act; that should be our perspective.  Like the example of the bird, the world tells us we need to be connected at all times.  We need to be thinking about, more likely worrying about, planning our next steps.  We have to combine as many things at one time as possible.  Let me eat while I surf the web, send a message while I walk outside missing the beauty of the day.  Don’t experience the wonder of flight or the view from the airplane, keep your head buried in your laptop or portable electronic device, stressing over your lack of connectivity.  Like the flower in the second paragraph; what image am I sending out.  Could someone see some characteristic of me that they might think flawed?  How do I hide my perceived imperfections from any prying eyes?

Jesus is never haphazard in His use of language.  He could have said: “Take a look at those ravens or see those lilies over there.”; but He didn’t.  Jesus said consider; and that is exactly what he wants us to do. For Jesus wants us to not only physically observe but to also mentally and spiritually contemplate that which we are observing.  Those ravens, birds, they are going about their business. At some point they are using what God gave them in that wondrous ability to fly.  At other times they are hopping around searching for food.  Ponder that they didn’t do anything in preparation for finding the food.  They did not sew any seed and carefully watch over it as it sprouted.  There was no farmer bird weeding the crop or seeing to its water.  Finally, no flock of birds was hired to go and harvest the grain for its consumption.  Yet God does not punish them for their lack of activity; throwing judgments at them like slacker, stupid or worthless.  No, Jesus reminds us; God feeds them.  Also, consider the lilies or any other flower.  How incredibly beautiful they grow.  Realizing that the beauty is not just singular in nature but a complex mixture of different colors, shapes and textures.  Yet no flower planned its outcome in advance.  No plant spent hours formulating procedures to insure that it would achieve a certain height or position in the field.  No, Jesus reminds us; God decided all aspects of the when, how, what and where and yet it outshines the most exquisite man-made beauty in existence.

Here’s the thing, as much as the gift of sustenance for the birds and the beauty for the plants are gifts from God; of how much more value to Him are we?  Jesus makes it crystal clear.  God knows we also need sustenance.  God knows we also adorn ourselves with clothes and have a desire concerning how they look.  Jesus tells us: “and Your Father knows that you need those things”.  How wonderful would it be only if He supplied those gifts to us freely (which of course He does).  But Jesus tells us, we are of much greater value.  To no bird nor any plant did God give the kingdom.  Yet Jesus Christ tells us directly; the God is pleased; not begrudging, not reluctant, no He is pleased to give us the kingdom.  When Jesus states O you of little faith, it sounds like an admonishment and to a certain extent it is.  Though I also think it is a little of a plea.  A plea to lighten up.  A plea to not be so stressed out.  A plea to not miss the wonders and blessings that God has placed before us because we are too busy trying to achieve the lessor things of the world.

Dear brothers and sisters, may we visualize the reality of Our Heavenly Father’s love for us.  A love that is first and foremost a gift. A gift so unfathomably miraculous that included the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ to bring us into relationship with Him.  May it be that we will consider all these things, then enter peaceably into His Rest.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for the promises that You have made to and for us.  Forgive most Merciful Father, when we neglect the reality of those promises to pursue the fantasy of our self reliance.  Pour out Your Spirit upon us that we would resist the stress of the world and come to embrace the faithful rest that we will find in You.  That in that rest and confidence in You we would live lives that praise Your Most Holy Name.  In the Most Holy Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen