On a hillside, outside Jerusalem, a crowd had gathered. The young Nazarene was teaching. Even 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.
“Harrumphed.” Responded Dandelion grumpily, before Lily shushed them both.
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, her leaves fluttering.
“I am trying to sleep,” Dandelion grumbled.
“I don’t know,” Clover answered her question. “I have never thought about it. What do you want to do in life?”
She whirled her petals before answering. “It came to me this afternoon. I believe that the teacher is the Messiah – the prophesied king! I want to show that he is king. I want to be a flower in a wreath or bouquet that adorns his palace. My purpose in life is to help people see Jesus is our Messiah is King!” She gushed.
“Will you to be quiet and let me sleep?” Dandelion complained. Lily settled down to sleep, dreaming of her future as a royal flower.
The following days of summer passed slowly as Lily waited for someone to notice her beauty and choose her to honor a king. She envisioned flower garlands and aromatic bouquets in honor of the Messiah. 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 and the servants brought it to him. He carefully examined every petal for flaws or bruising. If 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.
But it was not to be, for the Merchant was not making garlands or wreaths that day. The basket of lilies was sold to a perfume shop. Lily cried as her petals were removed, one by one. The petals were ground up and pressed to remove a few precious of scented oil. All that remained of the once-beautiful Lily was a few drops of fragrance. The perfume of hundreds of lilies was combined and poured into a beautiful alabaster jar.
The jar was placed on a high shelf in a small perfume shop. What went wrong, thought Lily. All I wanted to do was to be a royal garland and help people see Jesus as King.
Lily sat quietly on the shelf 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.
It was dinnertime when the woman took Lily to the house of a well-known Pharisee. 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 woman anointed his feet with tears and perfume and dried them with her silken hair.
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 understand and every knee would bow in worship of this King. But right now, Lily knew she had just anointed the Messiah, the King of Kings.
And that was far better than being a garland or a wreath.
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