The older I become, the more the words of Matthew 6:25-34 ring true. The message in this text can be summarized in three points.
First, people are prone to worry about the necessities and desires of life. Within in this context, Jesus mentions eating, drinking, and clothing, but we can broaden each of these. His point is that the world worries about their desires and wants incessantly. As we reflect a little, Jesus was not exaggerating. Consumption, even when we do not need things, seems to drive the world. Jesus urges his followers to be different. God knows how to take care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. So, he will take care of you. God promises to meet our needs.
Second, worrying does nothing. Jesus even throws in a rhetorical question to make his point. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” All the time and energy worrying does nothing plain and simple; it only makes things worse. The futility of worrying is amplified when there is recourse to trust in a good God. In other words, the energy we expend in worrying should be the very energy we spend on trusting in God.
Third, it might seem like Jesus is advocating a “let go and let God” approach to life with little action, but this is the furthest thing from the truth. Jesus is actually calling his people to great labor. This is why this section ends with an imperative. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” Herein lies one of the paradoxes of Christianity. Most of the things that the world wants are not a goal within in the Christian framework; they are byproducts. This point might sound confusing, but some thought will make things clearer. Think about it. Many people seek after joy, companionship, peace, security, meaning, and other lofty ideals, but rarely obtain them. Why? The very things that people seek after might not be goals but byproducts of something else.
According to Jesus, all of these are byproducts of seeking his kingdom and righteousness. When we seek God, then “all of these things will be added unto us,” as Jesus states. This is why those who have thrust themselves into the service of God or even other people are much more satisfied in life. The byproduct of such a life is rewarding. They discover joy and meaning in service. In this way, Jesus challenges our worldviews. Those who want to experience community must build it. Those who want to overcome loneliness must meet the loneliness of others. Those who want to be great, must seek to serve without recognition and they may get recognition in time and become great. Those who want to truly live must first die to themselves.
From this perspective, the byproduct of knowing and serving God will offer blessing. What is even greater than this is that you will experience God himself. In light of all this, we should ask for what are we living?Tags: matthew 6:25-34, Theology