Matthew 6:28-29 “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”
I am begging, pleading, crawling across broken glass to anyone who will hear me: No more Anna Nicole Smith stories!!! I swear her death has had more news coverage than the death of Gerald Ford. I keep getting “Breaking News” e-mails from CNN. I see the heading and think, “Oh my…something major has happened!” Then I open the e-mail and it is the latest tabloid spectacle of another man claiming to be the father of her child or someone else wanting to take home her body. That is breaking news? What have we come to?
It has all made me think about old King Solomon. He was no stranger to spectacle. First there was his parentage. Solomon is the son of King David by Bathsheba, the woman that David took for his own, even though she was already married to another man. But he fixed that…put the husband on the front lines of battle and told his generals to leave him vulnerable. It all went according to plan and Bathsheba became David’s wife. The son she was pregnant with at the time died. Solomon is Bathsheba’s second child with David.
Solomon wrangles the kingship away from his rivals, kills off a bunch of people who might threaten his throne and then prays to God for wisdom. God is pleased that Solomon would ask for wisdom rather than riches and long life, so God promises both the wisdom and earthly fame and fortune. It all comes to pass. Kings and queens from other lands come to see Solomon because of his fabled knowledge. His wealth increases beyond all imagining. He embarks on enormous building projects, the most famous of which was the Temple in Jerusalem. But we’re told his own home was more glorious still and any archaeologist can tell you that the days of Solomon were the glory days of building in Israel.
His personal life also kept him quite busy, as the Bible tell us that he married no less than 700 princesses and had an additional 300 concubines. In time he began to worship the foreign gods they brought with them and things begin to go south for Solomon. “Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant.’” That, too, comes to pass. When the Babylonians come calling a few centuries later, Solomon’s magnificent temple is burned to the ground, his carefully built city sacked. Solomon and all his wives and concubines returned to dust.
Jesus calls us back to the simpler things and the reminder that the world God created is quite lovely enough—lovelier, really. Not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like a wild field lily. And yet we are addicted to the glamorous ways. We are fascinated by the larger-than-life presence of Anna Nicole Smith, even though all the fame and fortune earned her only a deep misery that could only be endured with mind-altering drugs. Having the body of a Playboy Playmate of the year and any lover she wanted didn’t bring her peace. No amount of wealth protected her from experiencing the death of her son. No amount of media coverage could protect her from returning to the dust from which she was created, although at the time of this writing, they sure are trying.
How much simpler to lie in the grass and soak in the beauty of a wildflower, to accept our bodies as they are and as they become. How much more peaceful to settle for shingles rather than gold above our heads and the fluttering of bird wings instead of dollar bills. I hope Anna Nicole Smith can now find the peace she never found in life. Maybe the rest of us can learn from her and find it sooner.
Keep reminding us, Lord, that it was the simple life of a carpenter’s son with no roof over his head that changed the world. Amen.
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