On a hillside, outside Jerusalem, a crowd had gathered. The young Nazarene was teaching. Even the children sat in rapt attention as he spoke. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…”
The birds listened quietly to His voice. The wind had stilled and the trees bent toward Him to catch every word. Halfway up the hill, a beautiful lily listened intently to the words of the young teacher. Nearby grew her friends Clover and Dandelion.
“I heard some of the people whispering that the teacher is the Messiah.” Clover announced to his friends. “Imagine, the Messiah is finally here!”
“Harrumphed.” Responded Dandelion grumpily.
Lily shushed them both. She stretched her petals high in the air to catch a glimpse of the young teacher above the crowd.
When dark had fallen and the crowds were gone, the three friends lay down to sleep on the hillside. “What do you want to do with your life?” Lily asked inspired by the words of the Nazarene. Her leaves fluttered excitedly in the night air.
“I am trying to sleep,” Dandelion grumbled.
“I don’t know,” Clover answered her question, always eager to talk. “I have never thought about it. Grow tall and have three big leaves. What about you, what do you want to do in life?”
She whirled her petals before answering. “It came to me this afternoon as I listened to the Teacher. I believe that the He is the Messiah – the prophesied king! I want to show the whole world that he is king. I want to be a flower in a wreath or bouquet that adorns his palace. Every king has his palace adorned with flowers. My purpose in life is to help people see that Jesus is our Messiah and King!” She gushed.
“That is great!” Clover replied, grinning in excitement for his friend. “I hope can I do something as grand with my life.”
“You will change your mind tomorrow, wasn’t it just last week that you devoted your life to standing tall and making this hillside look beautiful? You change your purpose with every change of the wind!” Dandelion pointed out in a gravely voice.
“Oh, no!” Lily exclaimed, her leaves shaking from passion. “This is different. When I saw the Teacher, when I heard Him speak; I knew this was what I was created to do with my life. Those other plans were all about me; this is about helping the Teacher.”
“Humph, well, whatever you say, just be quiet and let me get some sleep.” Dandelion complained.
So Lily settled down to sleep, dreaming of her future as a royal flower who proclaimed that Jesus was King.
The following days of summer passed slowly as Lily waited for someone to notice her beauty and choose her to honor the King. She envisioned flower garlands and beautiful wreaths in honor of the Messiah. Time passed slowly, but she busied herself by swaying in the breeze, befriending honeybees, and making daydreaming about her future as a royal wreath. Surely it would happen any day now.
Then something did happen. A merchant and his servants came to the hillside. The merchant pointed to a flower a few feet from Lily. His servants picked the flower and brought it to him. He carefully examined each petal for flaws or bruising. When he knew that the flower was perfect, it was added to the basket of lilies.
“That one,” the Merchant pointed at Lily. He glanced over her petals before tossing her into the basket. Finally, she thought, I will honor the Messiah as King. I will be a royal wreath.
But it was not to be, for the Merchant was not planning to make garlands or wreaths that day.
The basket of lilies was sold to a perfume shop. All of the flowers were tossed onto a worktable, and Lily cried as her petals were removed one by one. The petals were ground up and pressed to remove the precious scented oil. Soon, all that remained of the once-beautiful Lily was a few drops of fragrance. The perfume of hundreds of lilies was poured into a beautiful alabaster jar.
The jar was placed on a high shelf in the small perfume shop. What went wrong, thought Lily. All I wanted to do was to be a royal garland to make people see Jesus as King. Why did this happen to me?
Lily sat quietly on the shelf and cried until one day when a woman came in the shop. She was flamboyantly dressed, with charms and bells on her wrists and ankles. She placed a bag of gold coins on the counter and pointed to the small alabaster bottle of fragrance.
It was dinnertime when the woman took Lily to the house of a well-known Pharisee called Simon. Lily could hear men’s voices coming from the house and one of the sounded vaguely familiar.
The woman burst into the dining room and broke the alabaster bottle over the feet of a young teacher from Nazareth. The smell of lilies filled the air. The woman anointed his feet with tears and perfume and dried them with her silken hair. The other men at the table frowned in disapproval at the woman.
Simon the Pharisee was not happy for the intrusion but Jesus rebuked him. Turning to the woman, he said, “Your sins are forgiven, your faith has saved you – go in peace.”
Every eye was on Jesus and the woman at his feet. Some understood; others did not. One day they would all understand and every knee would bow in worship of this King. But right now, Lily knew she had just anointed the feet of the Messiah, the King of Kings. This anointing would be remembered for all time and would show the world that Jesus is King.
And that was far better than being a garland or a wreath.