"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

21 May 2005

Considering the Lilies

Chambers’ May 18 meditation reminds me of Hopkins’ “As kingfishers catch fire”:

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they simply are! Think of the sea, the air, the sun, the stars and the moon – all these are, and what a ministration they exert.”

Chambers goes on to apply this to our frequent “self-conscious effort[s] to be consistent and useful” and reminds us that “[w]e cannot get at the springs of our natural life by common sense, and Jesus is teaching that growth in spiritual life does not depend on our watching it, but on concentrating on our Father in heaven. [. . .] [I]f we keep concentrated on Him we will grow spiritually as the lilies.”

This is so simple and yet so hard to do! I am having the most difficulty in looking at that long to-do list and frantically trying to figure out when to do what and wondering how I will get it all done and looking at who and what are depending on my actions . . . and I keep forgetting that none of it, in the end, is actually dependent on me, but on Him. And so if I am frantically doing without listening to the One who desires to direct me, I may do far more damage than good in all my attempts at usefulness.

“The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mould us. If you want to be of use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use unconsciously every minute you live.”

So true. One must hear the words to understand why such people live in faith, but too often the words, and the deeds, are not flowing out of love for Him but a misplaced need to earn His approval.

I want to learn to listen . . . and listening is my weakest point. I can only be grateful that He knows our frame, that He holds us and that our life in Him is itself dependent on His abounding and never-failing love and not on our perfection in responding to it.


amelia ruth said...

“If you want to be of use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use unconsciously every minute you live.”

What encouraging lines those are! Especially for those of us that haven't a gift for starting up conversations with strangers in the bus or for buttonholing our friends to tell them how to live their lives. What great freedom and great responsibility that give us--freedom from feeling constantly guilty for not "witnessing," and responsibility to live rightly and confess when we haven't.

Thanks for that. I can always trust your blog for new thought-provoking ideas.

alaiyo said...

So well put, Amy.

Are you going to L'Abri? Paul Miller is there now and is writing about it at xanga.



amelia ruth said...

I don't know! I'm really just acting one moment at a time right now, trying to prepare for camp. I'm sure it would be an amazing experience, but lately it hasn't been one of those pressing desires in my life: it's more one of those things that would be really good. I don't know. I'd go next spring, I think, because I have to teach swim lessons this fall in order to keep my swim-teaching liscensure. So . . . Just looking forward to one day at a time.