Matthew 6: the “Do not worry” chapter. I know it well. It’s a Bible reference I can visualize when someone names the book and the chapter it’s a passage I’ve gone to time and again, so much so, that it’s written on my heart and in my mind.
All of the topics leading up to this point in the chapter are rather straightforward teachings by Jesus: giving to the needy, prayer, fasting.
Do Not Worry
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? 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?
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 splendorwas 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. – Matthew 6:25 – 34
Jesus asks many questions in this section. These questions have pretty obvious answers, but I think that is what is needed, given the subject matter. We need to be able to read this section and come back to it often for the reminder that God provides for us and worry should not be part of our make up. Easier said than done, right?
In my reality, verse 27 has sunk in and is a verse that I try and focus on when worry creeps in. It doesn’t help anyone to worry, and if anything, it takes away from the life I’ve been given.
It’s pretty clear to me that Jesus knew that worry was going to be a problem for us. He knows we live in a broken world. He knows that we have needs. Most of all, he knows that we cannot rely on ourselves for any of this.