32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:32-34
One of the traits of an entrepreneur is that she is asking, “What do I want to do next?” I believe there is a related and similar question for the follower of Jesus.
However, scarcity and particularly worry about scarcity can keep us from asking the question and from giving our lives to the answer. Jesus is resetting the internal automation of the disciple. His Spirit is turning our affections and our questions towards Him.
So Jesus assures His disciples, My Father cares for you. My Father knows you. And now He assures them, if you are seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, God will add the “things” you require.
Here’s the question followers of Jesus are free to ask and to give themselves to daily: “My Heavenly Father, would you show me what you are doing in the world, and how you would like me to be a part of it?”
The question must come with a declaration of intent: “Lord, even as I go about the work of this day, I’m available to you for your Kingdom and for doing life in your ways.”
We really do have a hard time acting like we believe the Lord has an abundance of what we need for the trouble of this day. How often has obedience to Him been stopped in its tracks by worrying about “what if I don’t have enough… ?”
Let’s give our selves to the Lord Jesus Christ again believing He has enough.
30But 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? 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Matthew 6:30-32
Scarcity creates focus. The authors of Scarcity: Why having so little matters so much, call it tunnelling. Our mind focuses in on what we “need” and excludes all the rest. For those of us who have faced a deadline, we now how this works for us. But over time it also works against us. We can be so keyed into an outcome and a task that we miss that important call or even miss the signal at the intersection. Costly!
Jesus knows it too. He knows that scarcity creates a worry and a perpetual focus on the stuff of earth: “What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear?” He knows we doggedly run after these things. And we do it to our detriment.
So Jesus would ground us in the reality of our Heavenly Father’s knowledge. He knows we need them all. But He also knows we need the freedom of dependence on God.
No doubt death, decay, and the broken nature of our world makes “getting what we need” a challenge. And for some it is desperate. But even when its not desperate if we have conditioned our soul to lust after these, we may fill our stomachs and clothe our bodies, but our souls will be empty.
Trusting our Heavenly Father to care for us even in these basic matters of life opens us up to His supply and His Presence so that we enter into His joy in both our work and our rest.
25 “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? 26Look 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? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Chronic scarcity can ruin the soul. Not having enough preoccupies a person so that they miss opportunities in each day to experience God’s grace and provision. Most of Jesus’ audience at the Sermon on the Mount would have been intensely familiar with the grinding weight of poverty. Jesus shows them how money and wealth, or rather the lack of money and wealth, generates worry.
Perhaps you aren’t worried about money, clothes or food today. You might be worried about having enough time, knowledge, strength, happiness, professional attitude, control, wisdom, or patience. Worry actually turns you toward yourself and away from engagement in the Lord’s good work prepared for you.
Worry wastes life. One of Jesus’ first “abundance directives” shows the disciples the waste of worry. He wants them to anchor their minds on this truth: I am valuable to our Heavenly Father! Often when we worry we diminish the presence and truth of God in our lives, in this very moment.
Have you rejoiced in the mercy and grace of God today? Let your mind turn this truth around like a diamond in your hand.
My Heavenly Father treasures me. He values me. Not for what I can do for Him or be for Him; its all mercy and grace! He considers me. Thank you Lord!
31“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:31-34
We were in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Ontario, when we spotted an antique store on one of four corners. I was driving and we blazed past. Ellen was copiloting so we turned around. It was a pickers heaven, if you like knick-knacks. It was packed with stuff. And the aisles…were made for mice. The longer we stayed there, the more nervous I became, sure that at the next “turn and grab,” Mica and I would end up laying on top of a lot of broken stuff. Instead of enjoying the place, I started to worry. I needed to be in control. Sick. (Well I just considered it good parenting at the time!)
Hanging out with Jesus can do that too. Listening to Jesus creates an unsettledness. Encounters with Jesus can create disequilibrium. From a “I need to be in control perspective,” applying His Word seems impractical and sure to create more trouble. And that’s when the worry sets in. I wonder if Jesus saw it in the eyes of his disciples during his “sermon on the mount.” So he starts in on worry and encourages them to trust, to seek His Kingdom Today.
When the unsettledness comes, its probably a sign that we need to take a deeper look with Jesus, repent and move forward with faith.