25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
A few thoughts for meditation:
After calling his disciples to serve God instead of money, Jesus addressed the heart of the matter. Why do people trust in money? Usually it’s for the illusion of security. Money buys food, drink, and clothes. Money provides a buffer of comfort between you and some of teh hardships of this world. But can it really keep you secure? No. Jesus was clear that wealth can be stolen, destroyed, or lost. Most importantly, it can’t save you from sin and death. Only God can do that. So Jesus turned our attention instead to God, who alone can provide for our needs.
He first pointed to how God provides for creatures in nature. He feeds the birds. He clothes the grass with intricate flowers. Are not redeemed his children more valuable to him than such creatures? Jesus also pointed to the sovereignty of God over our lives. He has numbered our days. He knows the course of our life and when we will die. Worrying will not add a “single hour” to your life. That is in God’s hands just as much as your physical needs.
Jesus then pointed to the example of the Gentiles, those who do not know God. They served idols to obtain these possessions.They spent their lives pursuing food, drink, and clothing, thinking that if they had them, their lives would be free from worry or anxiety. And yet how often does that prove to be a lie? Look at how miserable many of the wealthy are; plagued by drug abuse or drunkenness, broken families, and the fear of losing their wealth. The comforts of wealth do not cure the evils of the human heart. In some cases, wealth enables the sinful heart to access even greater forms of sin or greater causes for worry.
But God knows what we need already. None of our needs ever escape his attention. As a good Father, he knows how to care for his children and provide them exactly what they need when they need it. That assurance should relieve the anxiety created when the crutch of money is removed. Rather than propping up on weak crutches of wealth, we are held up by the strong hands of God as our Father. And that frees us to devote our time and energy to seeking “the kingdom of God and his righteousness” rather than our needs. The “kingdom” refers to the saving reign or power of God which broke through with the arrival of Jesus. We are called to seek God’s saving power in every sphere of our lives, and work to spread the message of his salvation to others. By seeking “his righteousness”, Jesus referred to a life of obedience to God and submission to his will. What we prayer for in the Lord’s prayer (vs. 9-10) we labor for with our actions. As we seek to know and please God, God promises to provide all our needs. That does not mean our lives will be full of wealth or free of trouble. Jesus already warned about the dangers we face for righteousness sake. In the very next verse, Jesus said each day already has “enough trouble”. But we do not need to be anxious about our needs because God will provide us all that we need to do what he has called us to do in every situation he puts us in. Just take each day, one at a time. And just to stress that point again, how many times did Jesus say “do not be anxious” in this short passage? We live in very uncertain times when so many of our worldly crutches are being shaken. If these things are pushing you into anxiety and worry, it’s time to lean on your good Father and get back to seeking his kingdom first and let him handle the rest.