Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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?Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34)
We enjoy bird-watching as we eat our breakfast, for birds are a daily reminder of what Jesus tells us in this section from the Sermon on the Mount. Those little birds don’t do any planting, harvesting, or storing. They are “birds of the air,” not domestic fowl tended by a farmer, and yet they manage to find something to eat. They must, for there they are, day after day.
How do those birds manage? Jesus tells us: “Your heavenly Father feeds them.” God is the source of their food.
To assure us about our daily needs, Jesus directs us also to the lilies of the field. These aren’t the flowers that people grow in their gardens; they are wild flowers that come up and bloom without anyone planting or tending them. They don’t bloom for very long; after a few days, their beauty fades. Yet while they bloom, their glory can surpass that of a king dressed in his finest royal robes.
Where do the lilies of the field get such beautiful clothing? They don’t spin thread or spend hours sewing. Jesus tells us: “…God so clothes the grass of the field.”
God is also the source of our food and clothing. If He provides for the birds of the air and grass of the field, it makes sense that He would provide for us. The birds are God’s creatures, though they have no knowledge of Him. But we are His children, “of more value than they.”
It is when we lose sight of God as the source of food and clothing that we begin to worry about such things. We imagine that we ourselves are the source of our food and clothing, and then we start to worry that we won’t always be able to provide for ourselves. We worry that we might be injured or get sick. We worry that we will grow old and infirm and won’t be able to continue working. If we think of our employer as the source, we start to worry because we might be laid off. If we think of ourselves as dependent on a monthly pension, we may worry about how we will survive if it fails.
God is the only provider that never fails.
Our God is even more than a provider of things to feed and clothe us. He is the source of our very life and the creator of our body. Our life is more than food. God has greater plans for us than to feed us for a few years until we die. He has given us eternal life through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Our body is more than clothing. He has greater plans for us than to give us clothing to cover us here (in our sinful condition). He has redeemed our bodies and made them the temples of the Holy Spirit. He promises to raise our bodies on the Last Day and make them new like the glorious resurrection body of Jesus.
So Jesus tells us not to act like the unbelieving. We shouldn’t be reacting to our needs by asking questions as if we had no God upon whom to depend. We have a heavenly Father who knows our needs and is able to supply them.
Instead of worrying about the things we need for this life, Jesus invites us to look to the Source. He offers us something higher than mere food and clothing: “the kingdom of God and His righteousness”. To have these blessings is to be freed from the domination of sin and the devil and to live forever as God’s children cleansed from all sin. We have God’s kingdom and righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. We seek these things in the Means of Grace, God’s Word and the Sacraments.
So let us seek God’s kingdom and righteousness, making that our highest priority. Living one day at a time and trusting in God, He will see to it that we have just what we need.