Listening to the Spirit Led to the Creation of the Song “Consider the Lilies”
The fifth and sixth chapters of Matthew in the New Testament are among the most quoted scriptures in history. They contain the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Lord’s Prayer, which are key moral teachings from early on in the Savior’s ministry. They also include the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament.
Shortly after the Lord’s Prayer, the Savior continues and preaches about forgiveness, fasting, heavenly and earthly treasures, light and darkness, and good and evil. In the 28th verse of chapter 6, Christ says:
“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.”
This brings us to the story of how the song “Consider the Lilies” by Roger Hoffman was written. In the 1980s Hoffman was playing the piano at church when he played a new melody without thinking about it. As he played the melody a few times, lyrics flowed into his mind and he immediately wrote down two verses. As he tried to get up from the piano bench, he felt impressed that there was more to be written. “I was about to rise from the piano bench and go home, when I felt a kind of downward tug, and sat down at the bench again. The message came clearly into my mind, ‘I'm not finished yet.’”
As he started to write the third verse, which deals with pain and suffering, Hoffman confessed, “I panicked. I was afraid to tackle so large a subject. I thought, ‘My pen is too small to deal with a problem so great.’ The thought came into my mind, ‘You're not writing this, anyway.’ I then remembered someone very dear to me who once said she had a hard time understanding why God would allow little children to be abused, and I had a great desire to help her understand this subject better and be comforted. This urged me on.”
“I wept profusely. I could not contain my feelings. The love I felt was so powerful that I was overcome.”
“Consider the Lilies” has been included in the repertoire of the Mormon Tabernacle for quite some time. In 2003, the Choir released an album titled Consider the Lilies, which is a collection of songs that embodies the spirit of the Savior's teachings of faith, love, and hope for the future.
Watch Mack Wilberg conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in “Consider the Lilies” by Roger Hoffman, arranged by A. Laurence Lyon.