Consider the Lilies, How they Grow....
These words of Jesus gave me, as His follower, "permission" in a sense, to grow, study and improve the daylily.
"Permission????" you ask? Why would you need permission?
Let me explain.
I began following Jesus at age 10, recognizing at that time that my life trajectory was taking me in the wrong direction. My self-interest had grown so that with more fierceness I was demanding my own way. This served to bring consternation and wrath upon me at home and at school. Fights had erupted with friends. I could see I was becoming someone I should have nothing to do with.
By a series of events and contacts I learned that the self-directed life was the way of futility, and that I should surrender all to Jesus Christ and live only for Him. This is the life I chose, the life of surrender to my Creator, in the promise that He would accept me, clean me up, call me His son, come to live within my life, and make my pathway straight. It seemed a no-brainer to me at the time to give up a lifestyle and heartset that was causing everyone a lot of despair, and take up the life of grace and peace in Jesus.
Now as I write, this life has been being worked out in me for more than 50 years. I have found it to be the real deal, that what I saw as promises from God are good. He delivers on the promises as I deliver on the surrender to Him.
"Permission" is simply a matter of active open communication with the Living God. In all matters of life and work and relationships and money and hobbies, it has become second nature for me to consider all matters "from above, where Christ is." Here is how that occurred with the daylily.
I have known for many years the reference of Jesus to the daylily. I saw the logical analogy of His words, and taught them in various settings and themes through the years.
About 1993 my sweetheart was particularly encouraged by one of these sessions, and being out and about saw a wonderful calligraphy art piece with the words of Jesus.
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.
Now if God so clothes The grass of the field
Which today is,
And tomorrow is thrown
Into the oven,
Will He not much more
O you of little faith?
This has hung beautifully in our home for almost 17 years, sowing its seeds in many who saw it.
In the year 2000 we had the privilege to buy a home with 3 county lots, not too deep, but giving us .67 Acres. Part of this was already in formal gardens, traditionally filled with annuals by the widow seller, whose husband had been the gardener. We have the benefits of many of his labors.
In the spring of 2001 I chose to plant some perennials in part of the space. Among these, happily, were 3 daylilies. Spring 2003 arrived, when I noticed that of 33 perennials planted in 2001, only the daylilies seemed to thrive. I visited the local Botanical Garden and found the Richmond Area Daylily Society. I bought several, and being pleased, added to my collection in the fall. Recognizing a trend in my life, I prayerfully asked if I was headed in a good direction.
Permission granted. Mission: "Consider the daylily, HOW IT GROWS."
In the spring of 2005 I joined RADS. As I felt I was not meeting enough people, this gave me a people group to be with, and hopefully, to love and to influence. I had spent a lifetime immersed in church people and longed to find meaningful connections in a secular venue. Needless to say, I caught their disease, spent all available cash, broke up grass, and in 2007, started spreading pollen.
Now as I plant 1000 sprouted seeds, and as I recognize the huge commitment this is, I am taking stock. How much of my life is to be poured into this plant? My wife questions whether my priorities are out of line. The trickle of money coming quickly goes out. What are we really doing with our lives?
A huge theme in my thinking for the past 24 months has been "optimization." This is the notion that human life and endeavor should be continually developing so the human mind and life and love and relationships are all optimized to the pleasure and glory of God.
What role is the daylily to play in my life, in my thinking, in my teaching? It has taught me a lot. But it has taken its toll on me, especially on my time: "only one life; 'twill soon be past; Only what's done for Christ will last" has been a dominant theme in choosing our way on this long journey. I wondered whether I should just sell out and get my life back. This was on the table when we went for our spring '09 retreat, Mary Lou & I together alone, and again in fall'09 under the theme again, "what are our lives to look like these next 15 years, who are we to be and what are we to do?"
Reality was that our "cash cows" had died, financial pressures were back. Cash flow must increase. Present results were inadequate, future results uncertain. We were going backwards financially, due to the failings of others.
This has caused a renewed look at the words of Jesus, and a revisiting of what I had understood to be His will in this. In doing this analysis, I have been jotting furiously in my yellow pad under a title, "Daylily Optimization: What Did God Have In Mind?"
This is what I will write about on this blog. What the daylily has taught me, where I see the daylily headed and why this is so, and some ideas about what might be done to move another direction with the plant. And am I the one to do it?