19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 25 “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? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Ok, hands up if you have not entertained worry in your thoughts yet today. I don't see many hands raised. It's hard to not worry about tommorrow isn't it. This is one of those teachings of Jesus that we would call a "hard saying." We have so much going on in our lives, and in the world around us, that worry and axiety and insecurity seems a natural outcome.
One of the biggest concerns that many people have in common is worrying over their finances. Whether we spend too much or earn too little, at some point in our lives most of us will fret over this. We may worry about clothes, food, a place to live, or all of them. With money, we can meet those needs, and when we don’t have enough, we wonder if God will provide for us.
I often think to myself, "Wouldn’t it be great to get to a place where I truly trust God to be my Provider and not worry about money?" Is that even possible?
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
Jesus is saying one way to truly trust God as our Provider is remembering how much he cares for birds and flowers. The earth in other words. Simple, right? God provides for them, and yet, He values us far more! So, why wouldn’t He meet our needs? Admittdly, It can be very difficult to remember this in the middle of our worry. But, what if we let creation speak of God's provision for us, what if we let every bird in the sky or flower that you see remind you that God is our Provider!
Back in the summer I was reading some material for a discussion group I am co facilitating this year about Indigenous Peoples called HEARTS EXCHANGED. I remember reading an Indigenous author who said that for most of us there is a disconnection from the earth, from creation. He commented on our wearing shoes or sandles that separate us from the earth. He suggested as an exercise to deliberately walk in our yards bare footed, feel the grass and soil of the earth, experience the connection to creation and therefore to the creator, and just say thanks. Now I am not suggesting that today you walk around your yard bare foot, maybe wait for spring or summer, however, the invitation from Jesus to notice God's care of creation as a sign of his provision and care for us, may just be a way to be connected to earth, to the creation that serves to help us trust in God as our provider.
I believe this all begins with seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first. When we seek God first, Jesus promise is that “all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV). The Greek word for seek in Matthew 6:33 is zētēo, and it means to “seek after, seek for, aim, strive after.” So, when we seek after God, aim for God, and strive after God first, all “these things” such as food, clothing, and other basic needs will be given to us. Seeking God first frees us from the worries and pressures of earth because our eyes are fixed on Him instead of the temporary things that weigh us down.
When we worry, we tend to be stuck, we could even say we feel paralyzed by worry. So, don’t worry, but do something instead, Jesus teaches. That something instead, means seeking God. Read the Bible. Write out your prayers. Connect with creation. Worship through song. Practice seeking God, for when you do, your mind won’t sit paralyzed in worry about His provision over your life.
God is very capable of meeting our needs of basic provision. He met our greatest need by sending Jesus to rescue us.
Before Creation you spoke. You spoke into the void and there was. You spoke and there was light, darkness; waters, land and sky; the plants; the sun, moon and stars; the animals on land, fish in the sea and birds in the sky; and you made us. As the hymn says, “Father long before creation, you had chosen us in love. And that love, so deep, so moving, draws us close to Christ above.” And that love “will keep us, firmly fixed in Christ alone.” Amen.