Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? (Matthew 6:25) AMP
We are living in a time when our minds are filled with external authority. We submit to the news of doom and gloom, always forgetting that there is a higher authority that is in control and if we can learn how to lean and depend on Him, we will never have anything to worry about. But we know that in the world of reality, that people who lead others or carry organizational responsibility find more than enough reasons to worry—deadlines, financial pressures, market instability and other pressures (you fill in your own blanks here) make stomachs churn and account for many a sleepless night. But Jesus cautions us against worrying about anything—even the food we eat or the clothes we wear. In this passage, Jesus gives his disciples (and us) six reasons for trusting in God rather than worrying.
First, the same God who gives us the greater gift of life will certainly supply the lesser gifts of food and clothing (v 25). The command don’t worry about everyday life does not imply complete lack of concern, nor does it call people to be unwilling to work and supply their own needs. Food, drink, and clothes are less important than the life and body that they supply. Because God sustains our lives and gives us our bodies, we can trust him to provide the food and clothing he knows we need. Worry immobilizes us, but trust in God moves us to action. We work for our money to supply food and clothing, but we must always remember that these ultimately come from God’s hands. When the need arises, we need not worry, for we know that our God will supply.
Second, the God who cares for the birds will care for his people. After all, humans are of much greater value than any bird (v. 26). The birds need food, and the heavenly Father knows it. They are dependent upon God’s daily provision because they cannot plant or harvest or put food in barns. They work, they hunt for it and then bring it back to their families, but they don’t worry. If God cares for the birds, makes sure that the natural order of his creation supplies food for them, how much more will he care for a hungry human being? People are far more valuable to him than the birds. Jesus was teaching total dependence upon God as opposed to humanity’s self-sufficiency. All that we have ultimately comes from God’s hand. Jesus was not prohibiting his followers from sowing, reaping, and gathering food (that is, working for it); but he was prohibiting worrying about having enough food.
Third, worry expends energy pointlessly—it doesn’t change the reality of the situation a single bit (v.27). Many of us would do well to ask ourselves this question every morning: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Daily we face new challenges, concerns, problems, and choices. Will we worry, or will we pray? Will worrying be of any help whatsoever? Worry may damage our health, cause the object of our worry to consume our thoughts, disrupt our productivity, negatively affect the way we treat others, and reduce our ability to trust in God. Worry may in reality, take time away from our span of life rather than adding to it. It accomplishes nothing.
Fourth, worry ignores God’s demonstrated faithfulness in our lives (vv. 28-30. The same God who so wonderfully clothes the flowers of the field is responsible to care for them. Every blossoming flower is a reminder of God’s faithfulness to us. Sitting on the grassy hillside, Jesus may have gestured to the lilies, probably referring generally to the bountiful flowers in Israel, and pointed out that those lovely flowers don’t have to work or make their clothing. As in 6:26, Jesus was not condoning laziness while waiting for God to supply. Instead, he wanted his disciples to place their lives and needs in God’s hands, refusing to worry over basic needs. To worry about your clothes shows little faith in God’s ability to supply. God “clothes” the flowers and grass of the field that are here today and gone tomorrow. If his creation clothes the earth with beauty and color so rich that even King Solomon in all his glory could not match it, then he will surely care for you.
Fifth, we are God’s children (vv. 31-33). God will never treat us as orphans who need to fend for themselves. Because God provides food and clothing not only for birds and flowers but even more for his precious human creation, don’t worry. Do not spend energy fretting over having enough food or drink or clothing. Worry has no place in the lives of Jesus disciples because their heavenly Father already knows all their needs.
Jesus followers must settle the question of priorities and make the Kingdom of God their primary concern. To do that, we must consistently honor and represent the Kingdom. Then the way we deal with family, friends, work, leisure, etc., will all be transformed. What is most important to you? People, objects, goals, money, pleasure, and other desires all compete for priority. Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if you don’t actively choose to give him first place in every area of life. Strangely enough, when you get your priorities right, Jesus promised that God will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him. When Jesus followers seek his Kingdom first, God takes care of their needs.
Sixth, when we worry about tomorrow we miss out on today (v. 34). Any problem we face can and will be handled, with God’s help, one day at a time. Because God cares for his people’s needs, Jesus says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.” In an appeal to common sense, Jesus explained that what we worry about happening tomorrow may not happen, so we will have wasted time and energy worrying. We need to reserve that energy because today’s trouble is enough for today. We only add to today’s burdens when we worry about the future. No anxieties about tomorrow will change the outcome, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. The burdens of today are enough, so let God take care of them. We must trust God for today without worrying about tomorrow.
As leaders who want to influence our generation for Christ, we need to lead in a way that allows others to see our faith in God. One way we can do that is by depending on God in the face of our daily pressures. The next time you are under pressure, instead of worrying, pray for the grace you need to depend on God, who is perfectly and eternally worthy of your trust. Remember that those you lead will see how you respond to such pressures and will follow your actions.