Consider, ponder, meditate. Three powerful words that can literally change your life. After the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she would conceive a child and He would be the Son of God, she "pondered" how this could be possible since she was a virgin. For years, that was my favorite word. Mary took some time to think about this heavenly prediction before accepting it. Lately, my new favorite word is "consider."
To "consider" is to think carefully before making a choice. In the context of "Consider the lilies..." Jesus is teaching us about the folly of worrying. Ouch! Worry and I grew up as best friends. We dated and eventually got married. But then I met Jesus personally at age thirty. After He taught me that I needed to divorce Worry, I considered this notion. Then I pondered it.
"Meditating" is a word I dearly love. Not many have found it's deeper meaning. The Hebrew meaning for meditation is "haga" which means to sigh or murmur. Also "siha" which means to muse or rehearse in one's mind. Now we're getting to the heart of the matter! I once heard a whole sermon on this word. The minister talked about how meditating on a word or thought is like "chewing" on it all day. He cited how a cow digests its food. They have four stomachs. The food has to get refined through each stomach until at last the nutrients can be extracted at the end. This takes time. Meditating on a thought or word involves assimilating it slowly, allowing its richness to be digested over time for its maximum spiritual value.
Time is the common denominator in all three words. When "considering" the topic of worrying, I think about the pros and cons before making a decision. When I "ponder" about worrying, I take more time to look at the problem at hand. When I "meditate" about worrying, I read about its alternative, "faith and peace"; pray about it, and think on it throughout the day. I take my time, I savor it and allow its benefits to permeate my soul.
I read this lovely Word from my God about the topic of worry, "And why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and see how they grow. They do not labor or spin." (Matthew 6:28) I first "considered" this thought about the lily. Then I really "pondered" what it meant in that line above about how "they do not labor or spin." Just how do lilies grow? Though they look like they would be high-maintenance, quite the opposite is true. They're not particular about the soil type or pH, and they grow well in full sun, part sun, heavy or light shade. Very low maintenance! Plant them just about anywhere and they will take off with little attention, and certainly no worry!
This week, I pondered and meditated about the phrase, "Consider the lilies." This phrase came to mind each time I started to worry. And believe me, I had plenty of reasons to worry this week! But after considering, pondering and meditating on trading in my old partner of "worry" for "faith and peace", I decided it was a good deal.
The secret in making this trade is to "seek first the kingdom of God." So simple, yet not so easy. It requires intention. It is a decision. Like putting on my walking shoes each day, I choose to invest time each morning to meditate on a Word from God to transform my spirit from worry to peace. The daily manna that was heaven-sent to the Israelite's in the desert fresh each morning was vital for their physical survival. God's bread, His Word, feeds my heart, mind, soul and spirit each day for my survival. Won't you take time now to consider the lilies?