Where the wild flowers go

A few weeks ago our church began a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of James. A friend and I decided to go together, and I have been thoroughly enjoying the study ever since. Enjoying and learning and just this morning found it instantly convicting! Those verses about the tongue will get me every time! Beth has encouraged her readers to memorize this epistle, or at the very least write out the verses as the study goes along. I've been attempting to do both. I had memorized many of the verses in chapter one during years past, and helped my oldest sons with the book during Bible quizzing in their teen years, so some of it stuck. And some verses have been helpful reminders of things I too easily ignore or forget. Such a wonderful, practical book!

After we get past the asking for wisdom verses though, James talks about the wealthy and the poor. He points out that the rich man will "pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business." (NIV 1984)

James says the rich are like plants that whither.

But Peter (quoting Isaiah) says, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

We spent last week in Indiana for a track and field competition of colleges from around the country. The temps hit 95 degrees on Saturday during one of the longest (12 laps) races of the finals. We sat in the stands with an umbrella for shade, but even then I became overheated and had to find an air-conditioned building to cool off. (Those runners had far more endurance than I!)

Later, when we returned home, I thought about the scorching heat and how it withers plants (and people!) and how James and Peter and Isaiah all compared us to them. How quickly we fade, even as we go about our business. Just this past week, three friends have lost close loved ones, bringing this truth even closer to home.

Lest you think me morbid for pondering such thoughts, let me say that I think James makes a wise point in using the wild flower metaphor. He was telling those who were poor to realize that in Christ they were rich. And the rich needed to keep a humble attitude. The fact that all men (and women) are like grass levels the playing field.

Sometimes we fret over those with power and money and pride, who lack integrity, and sometimes are downright evil in their dealings. And yet their day in the sun is as fleeting as ours.

We are  all like the wild flowers. And though we are quickly fading what beauty we can have while we tilt our faces to the heavens, soak up the rain of God's love, and open our lives to do His bidding. Jesus said to "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!"

God cares for the wild flowers and the grass of the fields. How wonderful to know He cares for me more than these!