Pause for Thought

Smell The Roses

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“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.“ Luke 12:27 NIV

It would appear that the law of unintended consequences has not been repealed. 

It is ironic so many of the inventions of our present age which promised more time for leisure and recreation have only robbed us of quality time for relaxation.

I remember that one of the deciding criteria for taking my first cruise with my family many years ago was that I would be totally incommunicado during that time. I was unreachable and so any problems that arose already had been delegated to coworkers if they were serious or could wait for me to get back if they were just “important”. Either way, prior preparation coupled with enforced ignorance was true recreation! Unfortunately satellite phones and the ubiquitous wi-fi internet make that experience all but impossible today.

I was shocked recently to hear my granddaughter talk about some of her friends who were seeing mental health therapists because of the pressures they perceived in high school. A great amount of their time was spent online with peers where every little feeling had to be reacted to and then amplified. Everything was blown out of perspective, negatively affecting school work and relationships.

You can  probably also relate to having to make a u-turn because someone in your car had forgotten their cell phone or tablet and were deathly afraid of being out of touch.

The “news” comes at us twenty-four seven, and it’s never good news. Media companies want to grab your exclusive attention dressed up as “breaking news” and it’s never something you need to know which is positive or uplifting, because “if it bleeds, it leads”!

Life increasingly seems to be filled today with frantic and frenetic worries and anxieties.

The twelfth chapter of Luke’s gospel provides powerful and free therapy — if we will believe what Jesus is saying. 

In the verses immediately preceding the one I have quoted above we get a glimpse of Jesus’ sense of humor. Read it for yourself, but here is my paraphrase: 

“OK worry-worts! Let’s try this.  Just by worrying about it, make yourself taller by 18” (46cm).  Anyone?  No?  Thought so!”  [a cubit at that time was about 18”]

Jesus then goes on to give us the antidote to worry — “Consider … the wild flowers…”

Jesus doesn’t just want us to remember, or picture, or imagine the flowers — he wants us to “consider” them!

To us the word translated as “consider” probably means something like, “when you are looking for alternatives this might be worth including”. But in the Greek of Jesus’ time it went much, much deeper than that. To consider something meant to take time to focus and give it your full and undivided attention, to study it in intimate detail, to analyze, ponder, and reflect on every aspect of it.

Notice how Jesus deftly switches the focus away from what we can do for ourselves (grow 18”) to becoming absorbed in wonder at what God has already done in the extravagant details of the lowliest of creation. After all you can not really appreciate the true value of a single wildflower until you intently study it in detail and notice that nothing essential is left out and no inessential element is included. That’s when worry limps away and is replaced by wow!

If we find ourselves surrounded by the cares and worries of this world, may I suggest that we follow Jesus’ advice and begin to truly consider the incidental things God has extravagantly provided to enrich our lives. Really smell the rose, touch its petals, admire the simplicity of the stem and the architecture of the thorns. Look at it from different angles. Maybe take a photograph from the ground looking up. 

Get to wow!  I think you’ll then find that your cares are forgotten as you do so. 

Repeat as necessary.

“ Then sings my soul my Savior, God to thee, How great thou art!”

“Count your blessings, name them one by one; And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”

Get out there and smell the roses (or any flora of your choosing)!

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

Friday July 8th, 2022
Saturday June 25th, 2022