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 important than food, and the body more important 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? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour 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, O 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.
We immediately look at this passage from our own perspective. Verses 25-27 therefore seem very comforting. ‘Do not worry about material things’ it seems to be saying. There is a problem however. The first word is ‘Therefore’, which means that it is linked with the previous verses and could be understood to mean ‘In the light of this’.
The previous verses are talking about not serving two masters, God and money. This therefore suggests that a better interpretation could be;
Since you cannot serve both God and money, do not lose sleep worrying about things to do with money, because in terms of priorities, they are not important.
What is more, the following verses suggest that the reason we should not worry is that physical provision is God’s job, and that to do otherwise is to presume to do God’s job for Him.
Maybe what these verses are talking about is putting our effort into getting right with God, serving Him, regardless of what we perceive our situation to be. Verse 30 says that if we worry, it shows a lack of faith. Lack of faith hinders God in doing His part. Now the argument goes, ‘if I lack faith, how can I believe that God will provide, and allow Him to do His part? The simple answer is verse 33.
seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.
It would be irresponsible to totally ignore financial and spiritual commitments, but we do need for God to change our perspective as to what comes first in our lives. Of course there may be cost involved, but what choice do we have?
Proverbs 3:5 helps.
Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding
We may not understand it, but God commands us not to worry, so we should go to Him when we are tempted. Only He can give us the freedom to fulfill His desire for us.
© Paul Wood