Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV) “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? 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 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, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus Himself actually lived out the care-free lifestyle that He is advocating here. Even though He didn’t own a house of His own (cf. Luke 9:58), He was not left without shelter from storms and cold. His Father always provided for Him. Even though He didn’t have what most would consider a regular job, He never lacked for the necessities. His Father always provided for Him.
The examples that He used for this lifestyle are significant. Everybody knows that birds don’t have to go to the store to buy seed or worms to eat. God provides food all around them; they just have to go out and pick it up. And they don’t have to buy clothes. God provides them with soft, warm feathers that withstand heat, cold, and even rain. All they have to do to receive God’s provision is to be what He created them to be, and to do what He created them to do.
The wild flowers don’t have to wander around looking for food, either. In their season, all they have to do us to suck up the nourishment all around their roots. Check out dandelions for an excellent example. Even during most of the dry season, they still grow, drawing every available drop of moisture from the ground with their thick, deep root system. And God also clothes them with rich colors and amazing textures. All they have to do to receive God’s provision is to be what He created them to be, and to do what He created them to do.
As a human being, Jesus received God’s provision for the same reason. He always was exactly what God intended for Him to be – a man who lived in complete harmony with God’s ways and obedience to His will and His commands. And He always did exactly what God intended Him to do. In fact, the theme of His life was, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19 NIV) Jesus’ only concern in life was knowing and doing the will of His Father, being continually obedient, even taking it as far as laying down His life on the cross (cf. Philippians 2:8).
God knows every necessity that each us has, and longs to supply them, exactly as He did for Jesus. There are two things that get in His way:
- We crave more than the necessities. God does not focus on wants, but on what is truly needed. Today many of God’s people already have far more and far better than what is actually necessary, and end up spending more time and money using or maintaining the things they have than they spend focusing on God and His will for them.
- We don’t actually trust God. Many of us seek security in an abundance of stuff and in pantries full of food, unwilling to trust God to simply provide just what He knows is necessary each day.
The key to unlocking God’s provision is not simply to lay back and trust God to bring food, or clothes, or money to the door. Jesus was never idle. The key, as Jesus clearly stated, is to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. To seek God’s kingdom means to be completely focused and actively involved in making His kingdom a here-and-now reality: helping people to come into relationship with Him through Jesus; helping those people to grow into mature, Christlike disciples; and bringing God’s kingdom values into contact with the world at every juncture, just like Jesus did. Seeking God’s righteousness means to live in obedience to God’s commands, conforming our entire lives to God’s agenda, and allowing God to transform our hearts, so that they will be completely transformed, and aligned with His character, just like Jesus.
These two items are not items to be added on to our already full agendas. They are to become the primary focus of our lives as God’s people, just as they were for Jesus Himself. Into those kinds of lives God can pour His provision without limit, always ensuring that whatever is really needed is provided; not just food, and drink, and clothing, but also His presence, His power, His purity, and His passion.
Father, I can see that it is very common for us to give You only a part of ourselves, but still expect You to give everything to us in exchange. It is also easy to see that Jesus, the great exemplar of life in the kingdom, never gave You partial measures. He always gave You 100%, and thus opened Himself to receiving all that He needed, exactly when He needed it. No worry, no fretting, no concerns for tomorrow. Lord, help me to trust You each day, to follow You each day, to obey You each day, to be 100% Yours each day, and to put seeking Your kingdom and Your righteousness at the top of my agenda each day, so that You can freely provide all that I need each day. Amen.