Close your eyes for a moment and picture a young boy of ten or twelve years of age with dark hair, bright eyes, and a ruddy complexion. Can you visualize him slowly ambling up a warm, Judean hillside? Picture Him deep in thought, yet very observant — unusual for one His age.
This child, Jesus, was happiest in the fields and on the hillsides. There, among the birds and flowers, through their actions and interactions, God taught Him many practical and spiritual lessons. Jesus learned through the symbolism that He Himself had embedded into the things of nature when He created the world. A mother bird, sheltering her brood under her wings, taught Him of the security of His Father’s care. A tiny seed, pushing its leaf up through the hard earth taught Him of the power of the implanted germ of new life imputed in human hearts by God. A pure white waterlily, floating on a murky pond, taught that He could live a pure and holy life, even amidst the strife and turmoil of the world. Many of the lessons that He later taught on the hillsides of Galilee to the eager throngs, He learned through careful attention to the lessons taught by the little things around Him.
As human beings, we are a part of His creation. We also fit into the symbolic scheme of the natural world and are commissioned to be examples of spiritual truths. As His highest and most intelligent of earthly creatures, God is asking us to be vessels that reveal His love to others. Through the tender bonds of love, we are to symbolize Christ to the world. We are to be symbols, a model or representation of God’s family. Our relationships with those around us, both at home and beyond, may be all that those in a sin-sick world can see of Christ’s love. Expressing His character through our actions and deeds is what God asks us to do. Quite a challenge, but the power to achieve it comes from Him. Just look to the tiny examples in nature that share this truth.