Should we worry that we’re worried? (Matthew 6:25-34)

Jesus here is not speaking about legitimate concerns church leaders may have or parents may have or employers may have or governments may have. It is important for people to care about the influence of Christianity, about the future of their families, about finding areas of work, about the concerns of the government. 

Jesus asks his disciples to think about what is most important in life. Is life primarily about food and clothes? As we can see, Jesus refers to birds who are fed by God. Jesus is not suggesting inactivity because birds have to search for food every day, and sometimes it seems scarce. Yet the birds don’t begin the day worrying about their food – they expect to find it. They don’t know it, but the responsibility belongs to someone else, to God. Believers know that God has promised to give them what they need.

Jesus also points out that people often worry about things they cannot change. He mentions trying to add years to our lives. Who knows how long a person will live? God does, and the psalmist reminds us in Psalm 139 that all our days have been planned by God. The Father will provide, says Jesus, for the needs of his people every day. Why does he do so? Because his people mean something to him that the birds do not – after all, his people are his children.

It looks as if clothing was a big concern at that time. Unlike us, who tend to throw clothes away, good clothing then was a means of wealth and sometimes such clothing was handed on as family heirlooms. The problem in their attitude here seems to have been worrying about what clothes they would have in a few years’ time. 

Does God care about clothes in this sense? Jesus refers to what God does with lilies. The point is that God spends a lot of care on something whose existence is short-lived. Probably, the disciples should have deduced that God would show greater care for them every day. It is inconceivable that he would express greater concern for short-lived flowers. Worry reveals what we think God’s priorities are – it is an expression of distrust towards his commitment to meet the needs of his people.

Jesus highlights the root of the problem when he describes his disciples as ‘little faith’. It is important to realise that this name expresses his love and not his anger. After all, it was true faith that they had showed when they became disciples. But their faith had to grow and therefore they should focus on God and his promises of care

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