Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Matthew 6:26-30 Our Trust Proves Our Faith

I was laid off three times in a row not long after my daughter was born. It was a demoralizing, scary time in my life that I try not to think about very much about. My daughter, on the other hand, wasn’t the least bit worried. She didn’t know what was going on and didn’t know there was a reason to be scared. From her perspective, she just assumed she was going to be taken care of—and she was. We didn’t miss a meal, we had a roof over our heads, and we had clothes. Now, I know that my wife and I went out and worked to earn the money to provide those things but ultimately we had the jobs where we worked because God watched over us. In the same way a young child trusts in a parent to provide for them, we can trust God to provide for our needs.

Jesus draws our attention to nature in explaining God and His care for us. Jesus tells His audience to take notice that birds “do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns”. For the most part, we would say that they live “hand to mouth” as the saying goes (or would that be “wing to beak”). They don’t store food like an ant or a squirrel, and they don’t cultivate crops. In fact, birds probably couldn’t do that. God did not wire them to live communally like insects and they don’t have the appendages necessary to do that kind of work. Even with this lack of ability on their part, they are still provided for by God. Now, Jesus is not saying that we should not work but rather we should just sit around and wait for God to provide for us without needing to lift even a finger on our own. This is not an excuse for laziness on our parts. In fact, reading the last part of verse 26, we see Jesus make the point that if God provides for birds, surely He will feed us because we are more important to Him than any bird.

Furthermore, Jesus points not only to the animal kingdom but also to the plant kingdom. My wife and I went to Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama one year around Christmas for our anniversary. It was lit up with Christmas lights and decorations which made the already beautiful flowers of the garden even more spectacular. Flowers, trees, and the like are simply awe inspiring. God shows Himself to be a Master Artist in all of creation as we observe the magnificent world He created and maintains. No artist, musician, and certainly no fashion designer has created anything to rival the beauty of this world. Now, as Jesus says, in verses 28 and 29, that flowers don’t struggle to manufacture their own clothing he also points out that the most opulent king ever to live couldn’t compare in his royal trappings to the beauty of nature. Therefore, if God creates such beautify in nature that is subject to decay and destruction (“alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace”) then we can trust Him to provide us with what we need for clothing because we are infinitely more important than grass that is burned up.

Finally, I believe the middle verse (v. 27) of this passage provides us the most important reason to trust God with our needs. Worry is a fruitless activity. We accomplish nothing good by worrying. The word translated “worry” is a Greek word that means to be divided like trying to be in two places at once. Even if we worry about something, we accomplish nothing. Now, we’re not talking about taking reasonable precautions to avoid a problem like saving money for a rainy day. We talking about anxiety about things that may or may not happen—a mysterious misty phantom of the future. When you get right down to it, while there are things we can and should do to plan for the future whatever happens is out of our hands. We can’t even “add a single hour to [our life]”. We don’t have control, but our heavenly Father does. Therefore, if He provides for the birds, and clothes the plants we can trust Him to take care of us because He is in control of the universe.

If we trust God it will be demonstrated by our obedience to His word. We won’t try to live like the rest of the world constantly worried about how we’re going to eat and what we’re going to wear. We are free to live a life totally devoted to serving our Master. Praise God for His faithfulness.

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