Our culture is an age of shameless materialism. The goal of life is to accumulate and store up all the wealth you can possibly get your hands on. In Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus has taught that we must not accumulate treasures on earth but accumulate treasures in heaven because these are true, lasting treasures that satisfy. But now Jesus addresses a natural concern that we will have when we no longer accumulate treasures for ourselves on earth. If I am not storing up treasures to take care of myself, what is going to happen to me and how am I going to be taken care of? If I use my wealth for the furthering of God’s kingdom and to store up for myself heavenly treasures, then what is going to happen to me?
One of the reasons we have anxiety and worry is because we do not believe that God is going to take care of us. This is why God tells us that we must not worry. Worry says that I do not trust God. I do not believe he cares for me or that he will take care of me. So we feel like we need to take matters into our own hands because God is not going to do something. I have to do something. Since I have to do something, then I worry about what I am going to do. I think you see how this works. So people have come along and tried to provide solutions for us. The most popular solution is: don’t worry, be happy! Of course, this does not work at all. Worry is not combatting by faking happiness. The most recent solution has been to “Keep Calm and Play Volleyball” or something other activity. This has been met with this response: “I Can’t Keep Calm; I Have Anxiety.”
So do we fight anxiety and worry? Accumulating possessions and serving money is not going to solve our worry problems. We have all tried this and it does not work. So how can we come to this kind of peace in life that is free from the anxieties and cares of the world? In particular to our context, how can we not worry about physical things like wealth, possessions, and money?
Life Is More Than Stuff (6:25)
How sad is it to boil down our life into stuff! How materialistic! Think about how ridiculous it is that we would find our identity and worth by what car we drive, how big our house is, what brand name or label we wear, or how nice of things we have! Life is far more than the accumulation of things. How sad that we would turn our existence on this earth into such a vain and useless pursuit of physical possessions! Notice that Jesus says that life is more than food and the body is more than clothing. Therefore do not worry about these things. But do we believe this? Can we trust God who gave us life to give us food? This is the whole temptation when Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread, which is recorded earlier in this gospel. “Man does not live on bread alone” (Matthew 4:4). Humans do not live on food alone but depend on God for life and breath.
Your Heavenly Father Cares For You (6:26)
The second way Jesus gives us to defeat worry is to know that the Father cares for us. Jesus uses the birds to illustrate this truth. Do birds worry? Do birds store up treasures in barns and houses? No. They do not accumulate yet they are fed by your heavenly Father. See the emphasis placed on “your heavenly Father.” Your heavenly Father feeds the birds. How much more will your heavenly Father care for you! Are you more valuable than the birds? Yes, you are! Seeing how God cares for his creation is to develop faith in us that God will also care for us. If you believe that God is your heavenly Father then you have nothing to worry about. As a parent would you intentionally allow your child to starve? Absolutely not. We would provide for them and never let them starve. How much more will our heavenly Father provide for us when we are depending upon him and truly putting our lives in his hands!
What Good Will Worry Do? (6:27)
The third reason Jesus gives us for not worrying is that worrying does not do any good. Jesus asks if you can add a single hour to the time of your life through worry. There is an old English proverb that parallels what Jesus said. “Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Worry is pointless. Even when you have a legitimate problem, worry does not solve the problem or make you feel any better. Worry and anxiety cannot solve the past and cannot change the future. But in particular to our context, Jesus’ message is not worry about money. Do not worry about your possessions. Look again at verse 25. Do not worry about what you will eat, or drink, or your body, or what you will wear. Your worry will not do you any good.
Your Father Will Clothe You (6:28-30)
The fourth weapon we are given to fight against worry is the knowledge that God will care for us. Jesus says to not worry about what clothes you would wear. Look at the flowers of the field. Just like the birds that do not sow or reap, so also the flowers do not work or make their own clothes. Yet they are beautiful and splendid. If God covers with such beauty the short-lived grass, how will he clothe us who are destined for eternity with him? Once again Jesus is asking if we believe if God will take care of us?
Please look at the end of verse 30: “O you of little faith.” This is the truth of the matter. This is the crux of the problem. Worrying about these things shows that we do not have faith in God. God is your heavenly Father so you have nothing to worry about. Why do we make our lives this agonizing struggle for life’s possessions? We agonize and strive because we have so little faith and confidence in God.
You Are Acting Like The World (6:31-32)
The fifth tool for fighting worry is found in verses 31-32. Jesus says to not worry about earthly possessions because these are the things that the world seeks after and worries about. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus has declared that his people think different and act different. They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. When they lose their impact on others by being different and shining as light, then we are good for nothing (5:13). When we worry about money, food, clothing, and our bodies then we look just like the world who lives with no belief in the Creator who loves and cares for them. If you worry like everyone else in the world, how does this reflect upon God and how does it show the world your faith?
Your Heavenly Father Knows You Need Them All (6:32)
The sixth point Jesus makes to keep us from worry is for us to know that God knows what we need. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. God knows what you need. God knows how to sustain your life. Do not think that God does not see your circumstance. God knows what you need and you are to live your life depending on him to provide what you need. This is a test of faith. God knows what I need for tomorrow so I do not need to worry about tomorrow.
Have A Higher Ambition (6:33)
The seventh instruction for us to fight worry is to have a higher ambition. We are to first seek the kingdom of God. Seek God’s kingdom above all else. This is where we are expend our energies. This is how we store up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Seek the kingdom of God. It is God alone who deserves our full ambition and concern, not wealth or possessions. So what does it mean to seek the kingdom of God above all else?
First, seeking the kingdom of God means that we submit our will to God’s will.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:5–6 ESV)
Seeking the kingdom of God means taking every thought, every idea, and every desire and making it obey Christ. Whatever stands against God in our hearts we will actively go to war against and make it obey Christ. This is our daily battle of submission for the Lord.
Second, Jesus not only says to seek the kingdom of God first but to also seek his righteousness. We are supposed to live righteous lives. We are to live changed lives. Seeking God first will show a completely different way of living. I will not be pursuing worldly things but spiritual things. I will not care for the things of the world but for the purposes and desires of God. Decisions will not be made around food, clothing, money, and the like. Decisions will be made with God as our center of living.
Please notice the result of this kind of radical living. “All these things will be added to you.” What we will eat, wear, and drink will all be added to us. If we will pursue God first and foremost, God says that he will take care of the rest. We should not be surprised by this instruction or lack faith in it. We see this very command given to Israel in the Old Testament. The people were instructed to pursue God and his righteousness. When they did so God promised he would take care of them. They would not have to worry about food or famine. They would not have to worry about wars or nations attacking. They had no need to fear and worry. But they chose not to trust God and therefore lost all of God’s blessings for their lack of faith. Will we make the same mistake as Israel and not believe in the promises of God who says that he will take care of us if we will seek him and his righteousness first?
Let Tomorrow Be Tomorrow (6:34)
The eighth and final instruction to combat worry is found in verse 34. Jesus says to not be anxious about tomorrow because tomorrow is tomorrow. It is not today. You have what you need for today. Tomorrow will worry about tomorrow. Today has enough trouble. Deal with today. Live today. Take what God has given you today. You cannot fix tomorrow. Worry will not change tomorrow. God is in control of tomorrow. You handle what God has given you today by faith. Anything could happen tomorrow. Nothing could happen tomorrow. The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that sometimes life will just be the same tomorrow as it was today. So what are you worried about? But tomorrow may also be a day of radical change and there is nothing you or I can do about it. So do not worry about what is beyond our reach. Put your hope and trust in God for today and for whatever comes to us next. God is our heavenly Father and we are his children. Never forget the love God has for you and let that knowledge cause you to end your worries about this world and give you hope in your God who cares for you.