On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. Today, we consider the choice between two attitudes regarding our needs: worry or trust.
Would you go on a rollercoaster if you were told that one of the five cars falls off every time!? In winter I regularly walk past a pond with the sign ‘danger thin ice’ displayed in the middle. Would you walk on it? Many of us go through life worried and fearful that something bad might happen to us. Fear robs us of peace and generosity.
We’re not really convinced that God’s love is enough. Jesus tells us,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)
What is this ‘therefore’ there for? Jesus is urging us to come to a right conclusion in light of what He has been saying earlier in this chapter; in light of God be your loving Father, you need to stop living in fear and stop idolising money.
Consider the birds
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27).
Jesus illustrates His point by urging us to consider the way that our Heavenly Father cares for the birds. When was the last time you sat down and watched or listened to the birds? In our busy lives, we can often rush past all of the signs of God’s power and goodness that are all around us.
Consider the flowers
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (Matthew 6:28-32)
Jesus uses a second illustration from nature to show how the Father will meet our needs. Recently, I planted some seeds in the garden. Every day - more than once a day - I check on them. I water them. I will do all that I can, with my very limited skills, to ensure that they flourish. Our Father is like the Chelsea Flower Show professional gardener when it comes to looking after our needs!
How are we doing at saying ‘therefore’? Are we meditating on the love of the Father in His word and in nature and then applying it to our own lives? The antidote to worry and idolising money is the Love of God.
Jesus tells us that,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)