God knows what you need before you do. God is the provider. I love that name that God chooses for himself which comes back again and again: “The defender of the widows and a Father to the fatherless.” Its amazing that he would choose this name. I provide for those who can’t. I provide for the weak, the broken. I provide for you. If you see his provision. If you treasure him and his kingdom above all else there is no need to be unnecessarily stressed or anxious. Because he is a provider God!
Just like the birds of the air go and collect their food.
The issue has to do with too much concern over matters with which God has proven himself trustworthy. D.A. Carson says helpfully: “Fretting about such things betrays the loss of faith and the perversion of more valuable commitments.”
Fretting about things as if God cannot handle them and as if God is not in control of them and as if God cannot be trusted to administer them wisely for the end of his own glory and our everlasting good is sin. On the other hand it is normal to be concerned over debt, or trouble. The question is where do you go with it?
Do not worry like God is not in Control.
What Jesus is not talking about.
“Therefore, I tell you, this connects back to the last sermon. Remember when we talked about treasure. And how the affections of your heart set the direction of your life. Well here he is saying, if your treasure is in heaven. If the affections of your heart are something that you are never going to lose, then there is nothing to be anxious about. Here is then the practical application of saying that you treasure God above all. Someone might say, ”O Yes! I treasure God!” Jesus says, “ then why are you so worried about everything. If you treasure God, you will trust him.”
Now before we begin, I just want to talk about what Jesus is not talking about here. He is NOT Talking about a Hawaiian chill out mentality, like nothing matters, and we shouldn’t take anything seriously. he is not saying you can go sit on the beach, drink juice, and listen to your organ music, holding your mouth open so that God can put something in. No, A healthy concern for the future, for food and drink is a good motivation to seek it out. But what he is saying worry that does not trust God needs to be cut out. Anxious worry. Fretting. The lying awake at night that does nothing kind of worry. There is a kind of pressure that spurs us to prayer and work and a kind of worry that is paralyzing and leads to sleepless nights. He is talking about the second.
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?
Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Then in the beatitudes he taught us what are the things we should seek : Righteouness, mercy, peace, purity Then in this chapter he talks about almsgiving. A generous person is generally not an anxious person. Then in prayer he teaches us to pray for Gods kingdom first, then in fasting he teaches the body is more the food and clothing. Then in teaching on treasure he again tells us to seek God as our highest treasure. Again, and again Jesus is saying life is about more then what you see. It is way bigger than your immediate needs. It way bigger than you, but not less than the individual.
We all recognize this. Without love we die. Without relationship we are as good as dead. We all have the deep desire to be loved. That is our deepest desire even beyond our need for food or drink. Food and clothing are only in service to something much greater. Or that is what they are supposed to be for. If your life is about your clothes, or food, or money then you are living a very empty shallow live. We all know this deep inside. Jesus is talking common sense.
And to make this point he points to some birds flying over, and says, “you see those birds?”
He goes on, “they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” I love to look at the birds outside my window, as they drink the nectar from the winter flowers provided from them. I can imagine birds flying arounds as Jesus is talking, and as the perfect teacher, he points to the birds, and says, ‘Take a look there.” You see those birds. They do not plant their own food. They don’t get the plows out, and store up in barns. They don’t have pension funds, or stocks, or bank accounts, but just look how they eat. Your heavenly Father feeds them. He says your heavenly father feed them. I love that: Your Heavenly Father, alluding back to the Lords prayer, “Our Father in Heaven.” Jsus is saying trust him when you pray, he will provide. He is the God of the birds and he feeds them, but he is your Father in Jesus Christ!
Again this does not mean not planning, not investing. Anyone who knows birds, knows they work hard to get the food that their God provides. But they do not fret about it. They are not Anxsious. They are faithful in gathering.
If a parent takes care of the pet gerbil, or rabbit in the house how much more not his own children? In other words, if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more does the Father in heaven not give good gifts to those who ask him.
Why are you doubting? Or in other words, “Are you not of more value than they?” Dear church, are you not more valuable then they? It’s a rhetorical question. The answer is implied. It should be obvious! OF COURSE, YOU ARE! If anything proves that it is the fact that they person, they are talking to is himself the one would display the Fathers Great love for them. Stressing, or fretting as if your Father is not the sovereign creator of all is unbelief. But not only is it unbelief it doesn’t help.
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Anxiety is unproductive. I have never heard health advocate advise anxiety for a long and happy life. “What you need every day is to wake up first thing and stress yourself out. Make sure you don’t pray first or begin faithfully doing the work God has given. Stress first, be anxious! Its so healthy. This will help your day.” No! That is silly. If all you do is think about tomorrows troubles you will not be able to handle todays, and you wont be enjoying the fathers care in the present. Your Father is already waiting for you in the future. Studies have shown that stress and anxiety don’t had hours they take away hours.
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. The Bible spends chapters describing Solomon’s glory. The temple, the palace, his wisdom, his military, his wealth. It was the stuff of legend heard around the world. When the queen of Sheba visited him and saw “all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.”
Not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these wildflowers. You can see Jesus walking through this field of wildflowers designed and created by his Father. And seeing the simple, but stunning beauty of even one flower. Perfectly designed. Intricate, fragile. Beautiful. He remarks on it, and gives them another lesson creation can teach us.
Notice carefully what he is saying here. Something that will live only for a few weeks’ maximum is clothed in more glory then Solomon. And he does not say a field of wildflowers. ONE. Wildflower. Which is here today and gone tomorrow is arrayed more beautifully then Solomon in all his glory. With all his gold, all his wisdom, all his power, all his renown. How much more will he not clothe you! It is from the lesser to the greater. If he clothes the wildflowers like this how much more will he not cloth you! This is about material care for time and eternity.
This is beautiful. This is grace. He is saying: God will give you a home. A home his Son never had on earth. He will cloth you. He will feed you. Trust him. When you pursue material things before God that is when you become anxious. When you have a vision of God, walking with you every day not has an cop that is waiting for you to fall and get you in trouble, but as the most loving father who is all powerful, who has given all in His Son then you are going to experience every moment different.
God looks upon you as one of his own children. He loves you beyond what you can think or imagine. Like he loves his son. You are clothed in Christ perfect righteousness,We are his in Christ, and of eternal worth.
In the end this is about practicing the presence of God. Now you may reply that’s easy for you to say, Pastor! You have a job that spends time thinking and speaking about this all day. True. But I am not telling you this. Jesus is. And he experienced this life first hand. Jesus life on earth was one who knew hunger, who knew what it was like to have no place to lay his head. His sweat feel like drops of blood as he was crushed under the thought of having to go to the cross. As he spoke these words to not be anxious was fully aware of calvaries Cross looming over him like a deadly storm. If God pays this kind of attention to something that is only going to disappear in a few days how much will he not care for you – the one for whom he sent his Son.
As our text says, 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? This little faith is a failure to trust Jesus. To commit one’s life to him. The same word is used when the disciples are afraid in the middle of the storm while Jesus is sleeping. Or when Peter started to sink in the water because he was afraid. There is a fear that does not look to God but only at one’s circumstances. And contentment in looking to God despite one’s circumstances.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Here is the second, therefore. Therefore, because God does this, don’t say, “what shall we drink or what shall we eat? This is anxious questions, not what happens when you ask you mom what you are going to have for dinner tonight. But Asking if there is going to be dinner.”
And again, he is not saying healthy concern is bad. The question is where do we go, and what do we do with that stress? Do we work harder, stress more, get frustrated? Take matters into our own hands? Or do we fall down on our knees and pray “Give us today our daily bread.” If God cares about the grass which was used for oven fuel, then you should not be anxious that he will also are for us who are destined for eternal glory in Christ. God knows what we need trust me. He made you. He created you to need those things. Will he not also provide you with those things?
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. The question is what is first. What is the priority in life?. You are not just material physical beings descended from a singular cell. You and I are humans’ beings, made in the image of God. Spiritual Creatures. Made to glorify God and enjoy him forever. With consciences, and a sense of morality. Of right and wrong. We are relational.
This word, “righteousness” comes back again and again in this sermon. What are we to pursue? It is a righteousness that is worked out in everyday life. The righteousness that comes from God and also that points to God. There is a new way of living. The truly and only right way of living. This righteousness has been laid out for us in chapter 5 already. A righteousness that flows from the heart. Go read that again, listen to the sermons if you want. The kingdom of God which has been established through our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the stuff we are supposed to hunger and thirst for! Not food and drink first and foremost. This is the stuff that we are willing to be persecuted for. Not Food and drink. This is about getting our priorities straight.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Here we have the concluding, therefore. Each day troubles is enough for its own. This was the life of Jesus. He knew pain, and heartache every day. In fact it would only grow. Day by day the powers arrayed against would only grow. He trusted his heavenly a father for daily provision, from the manger to the cross. If ever there was one to say each days troubles is enough for his own it was this man. Follow him. He will provide each day grace sufficient for the day. And so each day you will grow in trust.
Worry about what we have no control over is where wmost of our stress comes from. Like the future. But instterad of worrying about that lets pray and work on being faithful in those things we can control, like the thoughts of our heart, and what we do.
Our Father is waiting for us each new day. And gives us the grace needed for each moment. This is what we must learn on our journey to the promised Land. This is exactly what the children of Israel had to learn as they went up to the promised land. God would provide. Always. But he would not provide for tomorrow. He would provide for today. Like the manna that Israel received in the desert, God provides grace for each day. We do not know what challenges we’ll face in 2 weeks or 2 years, but we know that whatever we encounter, there will be grace. We can’t get tomorrow’s grace ahead of time, but when we need it, God will provide.
Dear Church. Your Father in heaven is a God who provides. He loves you. You are worth more to him then all the flowers of the field. You are clothed in the robes of his Sons righteousness. He looks upon you as his own son. His own daughter. He is not only able to provide for you body and soul, in Christ he is also willing. Will you trust him? And live faithfully – seeking his kingdom and rightouesness. Even in this time?