Photo: Kirt Edblom, flickr
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? …Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25–34
We’re now halfway through our time together thinking about hoping and trusting in God, and today we come to the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He is teaching the crowds, who are a mix of society but mainly peasants. They depended on their crops for their sustenance, and even when the harvest was small, they had to give their surplus to the rulers through tax. We could argue that their cause for worry was justified.
But Jesus turns the wisdom of the world on its head, saying that life is more than food and the body more than clothes. He points to his heavenly Father as the source of all life, asking his listeners to recognize God’s gracious abundance. For instance, even the flowers of the field display more beautiful clothes than King Solomon. And he points out the futility of worrying, for in the end it will seep life out of us.
I have a friend, Sarah, who is a self-professed worrier. She knows that it zaps her energy, but she struggles to give her concerns to God. Especially where her family is concerned. Some time ago one close to her had to undergo an emergency surgery, which we knew would be excruciating for Sarah. We texted back and forth, and although she was sometimes filled with anxiety, at other times she experienced the peace of God wrapped around her as if a warm coat. Her loved one came through the surgery well, and now she feels bolstered by the intimacy with God she found when clinging to him.
We don’t have to wait for a crisis to draw near to God. As we seek him, he will come running towards us with outstretched hands while reassuring us not to worry.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to seek you and your kingdom this day.