by Matt Hein
The other day I was standing outside church waiting for a ride when something caught my attention. The large flowering hydrangea bush just outside of the St. Luke-Ann Arbor entrance was alive with movement. As I approached the bush I began to see that there were bees all over the flowers.
In and out, up and down they moved and worked. The bees had no care for what was happening anywhere except right there on the flowers. The beautiful blooms, too, weren’t worried at all about when the next rain would come or when they would wither before the coming winter. They were simply being a source of food and pollen for the bees. Both bees and flowers simply did what God had created them to do.
Observing this scene of work and beauty reminded me of words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 6:26-34 where He talks to His disciples about worry. He gives the examples of birds and flowers that don’t worry because God takes care of them. Jesus goes on to promise that God takes even greater care of us. Why, then, should I worry about what God will provide?
Jesus’ words challenged me to wrestle with my own worry about simple and complex things in my life and invited me to place my trust in His provision. But they did something else in front of that hydrangea bush.
Because I’d been reading these words in Matthew’s Gospel, I was able to see something as simple as bees and flowers, connect them to Jesus’ words about worry, and say to the person next to me, “You know, this bush reminds me of something Jesus once said about worrying.”
While recently reading a blog by Carl Medearis, the author of Speaking of Jesus, I decided to take his challenge to spend more time reading the Gospels. Since then I have been reading these stories about Jesus from the Bible more frequently and something interesting has been happening. I keep encountering things that remind me of the words and actions of Jesus.
One day it might be a hydrangea loaded with bees that reminds me of what Jesus said about worrying. The next day it could be my children finding a quarter on the ground that reminds me of what He said about a woman who lost a precious coin and searched her whole house until she found it.
Reading the Gospels more frequently has helped keep Jesus’ words and actions at the front of my mind. I am still learning how to better connect what I read about Jesus’ life with my own life experiences. I have a long way to go.
But the more I experience His life the more I am able to speak of Jesus as I encounter ordinary things. And connecting everyday experiences with the words and actions of Jesus has made it much easier for me to speak about Jesus to other people.
What would happen if you began reading the book of Matthew continuously, over and over, for a month? How might that change how you experience life and lead you to more frequently find yourself saying, “You know, that reminds me of something Jesus once said…”?
On Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 7 p.m., Carl Medearis will be speaking about his books and ministry at St. Luke-Ann Arbor. Join us for this exclusive speaking engagement where Carl will talk with us about Speaking of Jesus.