“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
- Matthew 6:25-34
For the last couple years Kelly and I have done our best to intentionally walk in faith as a family. That’s meant Kelly stepping out of work in order to focus on raising Micah. It’s meant me working three 10-hours days to open up space for equipping ministry leaders. It’s meant Kelly dealing with long days home alone as I go from those 10 hour work days to coach and support leaders in St. Cloud, Grand Forks, Park Rapids, and elsewhere around the midwest. It’s meant watching our financial security slowly dissipate month by month.
With that loss of security Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 have become increasingly more important to us. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.”
Kingdom and Anxiety
Seeking the Kingdom of God is a simple thing, but doesn’t mean it’s easy. There’s a reason why Jesus mentions anxiousness 6 time in these 9 verses. When we’re seeking the Kingdom of God above things of this world, we will encounter anxiety and worry about our worldly needs. Prioritizing the things of God requires a de-prioritization of the things of the world, which means things like financial security, have the latest fashions, eating the best (or best-for-you) food, take second string to the commands and call of Jesus.
If you’re never experience any twinge of worry about the implications of the choices you’re making for your earthly security, there’s a good chance that you’re not seeking God’s Kingdom above all else. Why else would Jesus be so careful to assure his followers over and over again in Matthew 6 that their heavenly Father cares for them and will provide for them?
Kingdom and Faith
Kelly and I were talking a couple nights ago and realized that neither of us, in our entire lives, have lived paycheck to paycheck. We’ve always had the comfort and security of more money in the bank than there was immediate need for. That’s not the case any more, and with that change comes the tendency for worry to rise up.
Into that worry Jesus speaks and says, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
I believe that what God is doing in this season is teaching us a new level of faith that would be impossible to discover otherwise. As we learn to literally depend on him for our day-to-day needs and to expect him to keep his promise of provision, we get to see the Father as the giver of every good gift rather than having God’s generosity filtered through the context of a paycheck that we worked to earn.
But what about sudden medical bills? “Do not be anxious about your life,” Jesus replies.
What if we run into car problems? “The Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
Shouldn’t we be wise and have a $1000 emergency fund? “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
There’s this tension in my heart here when I write what I just wrote. Doesn’t all the best Christian financial advice speak consistently about saving, having an emergency fund, and the like? Aren’t there dozens of Proverbs about using wealth wisely? What does this all mean when we’re following a man who never had equity or personal savings and lived day-to-day trusting that the Father would provide for his every need? In all honesty, I believe most “Christian” financial advice has very little Christ in it and is built more on fear than on faith. But that’s something for a separate post.
Regardless, Kelly and I want to be people who take Jesus at his word in a way that changes how we live. We want to seek the Father’s Kingdom first, trusting that He is good and will do as he’s promised and provide what we need, when we need it. That’s how faith grows.
Where are you putting God’s Word to the test and taking the opportunity to seek the Kingdom above everything else? How have you seen God provide? Share a story in the comments below!