The Easter Lily

This is from my story file.  It is not an object lesson–it is a story for Children’s Church, Sunday school, or any other Children’s ministry.  I hope that you enjoy reading it.


          Marilyn just couldn’t help the tear that rolled unbidden down her cheek.  She was so disappointed.  She rubbed the tears from her eyes with her fist and took another hopeful look at the lily. But as she peered closely another tear splashed on one of the drooping leaves. It was the truth after all; her lily was dying–her Easter lily!

Ever so long ago her Sunday school teacher, Miss Martin, had given each girl in the class a lily bulb to plant with the idea that each girl would have a lily by Easter to put in the front of the church.

Marilyn had planted her bulb and faithfully tended it. How excited she had been when the first green shoots appeared!  She watered and cared for her flower. She bought plant food for it with her own spending money. She wanted the prettiest flower possible to present at Easter. Now, Easter would be this coming Sunday and her plant was dying. She first noticed on Monday that the plant had begun to droop. Everything possible she could think of doing she did to try to bring it back to life but it kept fading and wilting. Not even her parents could determine what had happened. Everyone knew that by Sunday, the poor plant would be dead. Another tear dropped on the floor.  So great was her grief that she did not hear the doorbell or even notice that her mother had answered it.

Suddenly another girl about Marilyn’s age was standing next to her and saying, “Should I hold an umbrella over the plant?  I don’t think salt water is good for it.”

“Oh, leave me alone,” wailed Marilyn.

“Well, why the tears?” asked the neighbor girl.

“My lily is—“

“I know – – – dying.  So what.” the friend shrugged her shoulders.

“It’s my Easterlily.  The one that I raised to help decorate the church!” Marilyn replied.

“I know.  But why weep over it?  One of the girls in your class said that they were all raising lilies.  How many girls are in your class anyway?”


“Then there will be nine. “That will be enough, won’t it?”

“But I want one too” sobbed Marilyn.

“Well,” continued the unfeeling guest, “no use weeping over that weed.  You have a day left, so why don’t you go out and get another one?”

“You can’t raise one in a day,” Marilyn scornfully retorted.

I didn’t mean raise one.  I meant buy one that is already raised.”

“Get one already raised,” repeated Marilyn slowly, “now why didn’t I think of that? Let’s see how much money I have.” After considerable shaking, the last coin fell out of her bank. “. . . 50, 55, 60, 65 cents,” they counted.  Not much.  Then Marilyn remembered a dime in a pocket of her jacket from her allowance.  “Seventy-five cents.  I wonder how much an Easter lily costs.”

“Let’s go find out”

They hurried to a nearby store only to find there were no lilies left.  Anyhow, they had cost $2.99. Back to Marilyn’s house they sped and she begged her mother and daddy, but each did not have any extra money.  “Well, that is that” commented the girl next door.

“No lily.” Marilyn said sadly.  “What will I do?”

“You could stay home.”

“Stay home! I couldn’t do that!”

“Why not?  Oh, I get it, no one stays home from church on Easter.”

That’s not the reason,” said Marilyn dryly.

“Well, what is the reason then?”

“It’s—it’s—“ Marilyn began searching for the right words. “It’s because Jesus lives.”

“That’s no answer, the neighbor argued, “That’s silly.”

“It is not,” Marilyn answered firmly.
“It is not.” the neighbor insisted.  “It is just plain crazy. People go to church on Easter to show off their new clothes. That’s the only reason you are going or you’d stay home, like me, especially since you don’t have your pretty lily plant.”

Persistently Marilyn continued the conversation, “I go to church because Jesus does live.  He died for my sins and I know I will go to Heaven someday.  Jesus died, and didn’t stay dead.  He rose from the dead.  That’s why I celebrate Easter!  So there.”

“Really? I never heard that reason for going to church before.”

“You haven’t?  Don’t you know about Jesus at all?  What would you like to know?”

“You sometimes talk about being—saved.  Saved from what?”


“Sins.  Humph.  I don’t have them.”

Now Marilyn forgot about the dying lily.  She needed more than anything, to explain the way of salvation to her neighbor friend. Very carefully Marilyn explained from the Bible how every person has sin.  “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, she read, “and “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Marilyn finished with reading Acts 16:31.

“I’ve heard that the Bible is true, so this stuff you are telling me is true?”

“Yes, it is, and you can believe in Jesus today too.” said Marilyn carefully.

“Yes, I want to do that!” They slipped from sitting on the couch and knelt down.  Quietly Marilyn prayed, then her friend prayed and admitted her sin, and received Christ as her very own Savior.

The girls thought that maybe they could make a paper lily but after several tries and many wads of crumpled paper they gave up.  Then a big, better idea sprang forth!  “Would it help if I went to Sunday school with you?”

Slowly a smile lit up Marilyn’s face.  “Yes, that would be a big  help.

Sunday morning, the girls walked into Miss Martin’s Sunday school room.  “Miss Martin, I don’t have my lily plant.  It died.  But, I do have a lily!  My friend, Lily, came with me.  Does she count?”


Adapted from a story printed in the Child Evangelism Fellowship, Arkansas Edition, during the 1960’s.

(All I have of it is a mimeographed, well worn, yellowed copy someone gave to me.)




  1. Glenda

    And THAT is what Easter is all about! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Now, if only I can get my eyes to stop leaking…. 🙂

  2. You and I must have the same story file 🙂 At least, I used to have one. Over the years, I’ve given most of my children’s files away to a couple of churches, since I seem to be more focused on adults for the last 15-20 years. But I do remember telling this story, with illustrations. Did we get these when we were “Seminettes”?

    • I suppose you purchased for the sum of $2 the collection of stories from Doris Reed. I did too. Some of my copies are so faded I can barely read them anymore. Some are well-worn. I am rather selfish with them, however. I bought two sets and loaned one to my mother-in-law who used them on a weekly radio broadcast in partnership with her husband. So many of those stories are very very old and out of print. I try to give credit where I can, however. I must confess, I took liberty with this one and sharpened it up some because it was quite pedantic. It does have illustrations, which my daughter (Denise) now has along with a photo copy of my original yellowed mimeographed copy. I recently visited a local county museum with a grandson and they had a mimeograph machine on display! I felt very old!

      • Exactly. Just couldn’t remember her name until you mentioned it.

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