A patch of thorns is not the first place you would expect to see lilies growing, is it? No matter what kind of lily you are thinking of —some are large and some are small — they are all beautiful and delicate flowers. They are not like hard and sharp thorns. One flower of the lily family is called the “lily of the valley.” It is a tiny flower with the sweetest of perfumes. It meekly hangs its little white bells which sway gently in the warm breeze of summer. Think of such a flower growing up among prickly thorns! That would be like a dove among vultures or a lamb among sharp-toothed wolves.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Lily of the Valley, the “chiefest among ten thousand” and “altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:10,16). There is not a flower on the earth that could compare with Him. He is so beautiful in all His ways.
Jesus said that the splendors of Solomon’s kingdom could not equal the beauty of God’s lilies. And so is the beauty of every Christian girl or boy in the eyes of Jesus—far above any man-made beauty. If you love Jesus, never forget what He thinks about you. It will help you when you are feeling cast down.
When you look in the mirror, you may not think you look very beautiful, but when Jesus looks on you, He finds you to be very lovely indeed if you are one of His children. You are lovely to Him because He has given you His loveliness. The Bible tells us that when we go to be with Him in heaven, we will be like Jesus in all His beauty!
As lilies live in this world among thorns, so you and I must grow up in a sinful world. Did you ever realize that thorns don’t hurt each other? That’s because they are so hard and don’t feel the barbs of other thorns around them. But thorns can easily wound tender lilies. Sin can hurt us. The more you want to love and obey Jesus to stay pure and to please Him, the more you will feel pained and saddened by sinful “thorns” around you. Never let yourself get used to the thorns of sin. The more sin pricks you, the more you will want to stay away from it. The more you keep from it, the more like the Lord you will become. While you live, you can’t avoid being around those who don’t love the Lord, but by refusing to be part of their sins, you can brightly show forth the beauty of Christ — just like the lily.
Adapted from The Expositor’s Treasury of Children’s Sermons, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1912, Bishop Walsham How, “Plain Words to Children”, p. 385.