“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.
Understanding And Applying the Text
Christ forbids anxiety but not concern. Christ does not command we take a laisse faire attitude. Scripture tells us elsewhere to work. (Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4; 13:4; 12:24; Ecclesiastes 10:18; Matthew 25:26-27; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). How would we know what to do if we did not have some concerns?
The farmer must plant in season. There is a window of time in where we must plant seeds. If the farmer says, “I am not worried I’ll do it later.” He would never plant the seeds. No food would grow.
We need to think about what could go wrong and anticipate future needs. We need to prioritize. That requires some level of concern. To claim Christ forbid all concern is ridiculous.
What Christ forbids is anxiety and fret. What Christ commands is trust in God’s providence. We have an example of a lack of trust today. The covid pandemic has revealed our complete lack of trust. Christians, are afraid to leave their house. They fear interacting with others. They might catch the virus. They might die. Their fear paralyzes them from loving their neighbor. Instead, they fear their neighbor. Churches have SHUT DOWN! Rather than being an instrument for Christ, fear paralyzes us. They “follow the science” rather than following Christ.
That does not that mean we should ignore all safety concerns. But we should not allow fear to control us. “Do not be anxious about your life.”
Christ’s command to not worry about what to eat or drink or what to wear is a statement of priority. Isn’t life itself more important? We often concern ourselves about things we have no control over.
Christ condemned anxiety for two reasons. First, we worry ourselves to the point of paralyzing ourselves for no reason. “Will there be a war?” “Will there be enough X, Y, or Z” “Will the president sign this or that order?” These are the things people worry about. They cannot do anything about them. They have no influence on the events. But they worry. Second, they claim a right over things when they have none. They consider themselves “self-reliant.” They fail to trust in God’s providence. They claim a right over what belongs to God.
The Christian is not free from worry. But the Christian is not anxious about life. We are to trust in God’s providence. And as a result, we enjoy a calm the non-believer cannot know.
The only cure for covetousness is to embrace God’s promises. He assures us He will care for us. (Hebrews 5:13). If God feeds and cares for the birds, He will care for us.
Christ asked a question that most commentators ignore. “Are you not of more value than they?” The question contains the answer. We, people, are more valuable than birds. It is an important point to consider today.
What is the value of people? Christ asked the question and did not need to discuss it. It was obvious. People are more valuable than wildlife. Yes, people even are more valuable than your family pet. I point this out because there is a growing trend where we place an animal’s life above the safety of human life.
I asked a lawyer in Texas about the right to self-defense again an attacking dog. He pointed out something that was scary. There is a legal right to self-defense. But it all depends on the jury. As he said, “There are many people who like dogs more than they do people.”
If Christ gave this sermon today I am not sure he could have assumed this point. That said, Christ makes it clear human life is more valuable.
Christ’s command to not worry does not allow sleuth. The birds do not sow or reap. But they are not idle. Anxious worry shows a lack of trust in God’s knowledge and care. Being lazy is a presumption. We presume on God.
What does anxiety get you? Will it add time to your life? No! In fact, medical science tells us it subtracts time.
Christ pointed to Solomon. Wildflowers have more beauty than Solomon could buy. God’s glory displayed in wildflowers, exceeds anything men can do.
Instead of worrying, we are to seek the kingdom of God and righteousness. This is to be our first priority. Righteousness in this context may apply to God, or to the kingdom. The kingdom of God consists of righteousness. (Romans 14:17) “All these things will be added.” This shows that everything related to the present life is only an appendage or add-on. Everything is inferior to God’s kingdom.