Scripture:Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or, ‘What will we drink? or, ‘What will we wear?’ So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:25, 31, 34)
Reflection:In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about food or clothing; the persistent attention given to food or clothing does not characterize a follower of Jesus. A disciple, according to the Matthean Jesus, strives for the kingdom of God and his righteousness. In Matthew’s gospel, God’s kingdom has arrived in the ministry of Jesus; thus a follower who strives for that kingdom is one who actively lives without concern for food and clothes. Furthermore, because the author of Matthew’s gospel here attaches his major concern of righteousness – doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do – a follower of Jesus is focused on others first. Striving for the kingdom of God and his righteousness places a disciple in a position of absolute trust of God. This faith trusts that the Father, who knows that his creatures need food and clothing, will provide them. God cares for his own.
In order to urge his hearers to embrace such absolute trust in God, Jesus uses the birds of the air as an example. They engage in none of the sowing, reaping, or harvesting that human beings do, yet God provides food for them. Likewise, the delicate wildflowers neither toil nor spin like human beings do, yet God clothes the fields with their beauty. Thus, there is no need to worry about food or clothing; since people are certainly more valuable to God than birds and wildflowers, then people should be all the more trusting in God, who knows the needs of everything he has created.
Trust in God without worry about the basic essentials of life must be a part of everyone’s spirituality of mission. A person cannot answer God’s call, listening attentively, and leave all behind in order to be commissioned and sent unless he or she is free from worry. In a culture that teaches people to trust only themselves, absolute trust of God is difficult to achieve. Too many times people have trusted others only to have their faith in them smashed to pieces. Jesus’s teaching in Matthew’s gospel is focused on freedom from worry so that the mission can be embraced. Taking a day’s problems one day at a time is enough for the day; to worry about tomorrow robs one of the opportunities to trust God today.
Journal/Meditation:About what do you worry? How does each of those worries get in your way of trusting God?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know my needs for food, drink, and clothing. As I strive for your righteousness, deepen my trust that you will provide. Strengthen me in your service as I seek the kingdom, where you live with your Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.