I am one of those people that has known the last portion of Matthew 6 by heart for a long time. It is great to memorize Scripture to keep it in my mind and on my heart, and while I know others, this passage about not worrying has always stayed with me.
“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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If 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? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Verse 27 has always resonated with me, because it’s true that worry is rarely a positive action. More often than not it cause physical, mental and emotional stress and wastes a lot of time and energy that could be put forth in other more positive ways.
I never noticed it until now, but the first half of chapter 6 provides many alternatives to worry.
- Giving to the needy takes the focus away from worrying about myself and instead looks to serving others.
- Jesus not only gives, but teaches his disciples His prayer, to use in daily life. It’s a prayer that helps us to honor the blessings God has already given to us.
- It talks about the proper way to fast and how it is supposed to be a discipline of blessing, not of harm.
- And just before the “worry” section, it talks about our treasures being in heaven and not of this world.
“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.” – Matthew 6:24
Money is probably the most challenging worry I am learning to give up. My dad is an accountant, so he and my mom have taught us very well on how to handle our finances and be smart with money. I shouldn’t worry, right? But I still can remember calling him in college when unexpected car maintenance had to be paid or when I had to start paying taxes and making sure I was putting enough aside (it’s more tricky in my profession).
What I’ve learned over the years is that money is a part of life and a gift from God. More often than not, it’s part of the responsibility of being an adult. But worrying about money is useless. Even when you’ve planned ahead or tried to account for unexpected expenses, they still occur. As challenging as it has been, I more readily go with the flow versus panicking.
Whether it’s student loans, tax debt or payments on cars or houses, we have to spend money. But look at all the blessings there are with each of those: education, living in a free country, a car to drive and shelter over our heads. It’s easier to overcome the feeling of worry when I have the knowledge that what I am spending money on is a gift from God, who provides.
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