Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:31-32)
In our verse by verse study on the ‘sermon on the mount’ we have spent a number of weeks recently looking at the whole subject of worry. Jesus has stated clearly that worry is unnecessary based on the fact that we have a loving heavenly father who is ready, willing and able to provide for us and yet we can still find ourselves worrying unnecessarily.
As we draw to the end of this subject, I want to consider again what Jesus is telling us from the verses that are before us today.
Let’s start with His conclusion; we have a heavenly father who knows what we need.
We looked at a similar subject a few weeks ago when we considered the question why pray?
So on a similar vein, if God knows what we need, why do we need to ask?
· God is looking for humility – a trusting spirit. Asking Him for things is a humbling experience. We are admitting that we cannot provide for ourselves.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Peter 5:6)
· Trust – You come to Him trusting He will provide for you. You are showing that you believe in Him and His promises and His willingness to provide.
· Guarding against complacency. If God just handed everything to us on a plate we would pretty soon forget where it came from.
· Relationship. It says in the passage today ‘heavenly father’. He is a responsible and loving parent and part of our coming to Him is a development of that relationship. It’s not a good relationship if we always turn up with a list of requests and never want to spend time with the giver of those gifts.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13)
Jesus is comparing God’s provision with what the Gentiles have to hope for. The word ‘Gentiles’ could also be translated ‘Pagans’ or ‘unbelievers’. Basically, anyone who doesn’t know God or have a relationship with Him. You probably know quite a few!
As I have said previously, we live in a society that is obsessed with ‘things’. Things to eat, drink or wear. Materialism. The daily pursuit of these things causes worry and anxiety and is ultimately unfulfilling. Those without God don’t have any trust that these things will be provided for them, they are left to fend for themselves.
The difference between a believer and an unbeliever should be stark, but sadly sometimes the difference is not obvious and not immediately clear. If we worry like unbelievers, what are we saying about God and His ability to provide? What sort of message are we sending out about His love and compassion?
We should be living in the reality of these verses. We have lasting hope and they have none. We have a heavenly father who loves and cares for us and they don’t. They have to rely on their own wit and abilities, we trust in the care of a compassionate generous father.
As we trust in the reality of these truths, we send a signal to the world of what they are missing. We are much more likely then, to have the opportunity to share with them the hope that they can have this relationship too. Let’s determine this week to live a life free from worry and full of trust and see what opportunities our father gives us to share this hope with others.