The Beatitudes. The Lord’s Prayer. The “Golden Rule”. Teachings on marriage, loving your enemies, going the second mile. So many jewels from Jesus in the first chapters of Matthew! Here’s one that I know I need a refresher course on: do not worry.
” ‘Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’ ” ~ Matthew 6:25-34
I need to be reminded of this often! I know these things are true, and God has always, and will always, provide. Yet sometimes I don’t feel these things are true. The day’s troubles overwhelm me, and the tomorrows lurk in the shadows of the unknown and seemingly impossible. How will God take care of this need? When will He provide for this necessity? I don’t know.
What can I do while waiting and wondering?
Trust in God’s Word. Hope in His promises. Remember His past provision. And obey.
“Do not worry about your life.” “Do not worry” about food or drink or clothing. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” “Do not worry about tomorrow.”
Three times Jesus tells His disciples (and us!) not to worry. Why? Because we tend to worry about things! It is in our nature.
What are we to do instead of worrying? How do we obey?
Trust. Take note of the birds and the flowers, of nature around us. God cares for the smallest needs of His creation. “Are you not of more value than they?” If God cares for the birds and the flowers, how much more do you think He must care for US, created in His very image (Genesis 1:27)? Jesus tells us “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” He has promised us that “all these things shall be added to you.” “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19
Seek. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Seek after the things of God, after His own heart. We need to spend our time like Jesus, being about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49).
” ‘And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.’ ” ~ John 14:13-17
Does this mean Jesus gives us a blank check or a magic lamp – whatever we want, we will get? No. The phrase “in My name” is important. Jesus’ name is who He is, His very character and nature and heart. We need to ask for things that line up with Jesus’ will and heart, what Jesus desires for us and for others. How do we do this? By the power of the Holy Spirit, our “Helper” and “the Spirit of truth”. As we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”, as we desire to know God better, the Holy Spirit helps our heart desire the things of God, and His will, not our own.
” ‘I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.’ ” ~ John 14:18
I included this last verse to encourage us all. Jesus is coming to get us! No matter what troubles this day may bring, we can look forward to this promise! Amen.