By Mark Altrogge
Jesus had a lot to say about worry.
He came into an unstable and unpredictable world. He lived in an agricultural society where one summer’s drought could wipe out crops for the winter. He hung out with fishermen, who might fish all night long and catch nothing to sell or bring home to family. And Jesus knew the human heart and the temptations presented by the cares of this life. So he gave his disciples some excellent instruction on worry in Matthew 6.
“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? (25)
First, Jesus says God gave us our human life and our bodies without us even asking. Human life and our physical bodies are incredibly valuable. Our life is much more valuable than the food we put on the table; our body far more valuable than the shirt we put on. If God gave us life, which is so very valuable, will he not give us food, which is of far lesser value? If God gave us these bodies which are fearfully and wonderfully made, will he not give us clothes to cover them? And even further, if God has given us eternal life, will he not provide for our temporal life?
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? (26)
Jesus reminds us that God faithfully provides for dumb animals. Birds don’t sow or reap or store their food in barns—and they don’t fret about whether they’ll have enough for tomorrow or to get through the winter. Yet God feeds them. And Jesus tells us that humans, the crown of God’s creation, the only creatures made in God’s image, are of much more value than birds. If God provides for birds, then surely he’ll provide for those he made in his own image. Furthermore, will not God especially provide for those he bought with the blood of his Son?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (27)
Worry does absolutely no good. It won’t bring in money, food, or clothing. Worry only has negative results: it chokes the word of God and distracts us from God. It is unbelief, the opposite of faith. And it leads to more fear and anxiety. And the different scenarios we play out in our minds can’t prevent a single thing from happening. And besides that, most of the things we spend so much time fretting about won’t happen anyway.
To sum up:
- Your life and body are far more valuable than any food you eat or clothing you wear. If God gave you life and fearfully created your body, he’ll provide food for that life and covering for that body.
- God provides for birds who don’t know enough to plant, reap, and store up for winter. Humans created in God’s image are far more valuable than birds, so he will certainly provide for us.
- Worry can’t do a thing. It won’t bring in a penny. It can’t put a crust of bread on the table or add 5 minutes to our lives.
So don’t worry, trust your heavenly Father who cares for you.