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Matthew 6:25-34

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Introduction

Do Not Be Anxious

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? 26 Look 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But 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.

During our last time together we considered Jesus’ teaching to store up treasures in heaven, as opposed to storing up treasures here on earth. Jesus told his disciples, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” And today Jesus continues along this same line of thinking concerning our attitude toward material needs and possessions, and ultimately to the subject of priorities.

Therefore I tell you...

We can see the intended connection with today’s text simply by Jesus’ use of the word ‘therefore’ in verse 25, he says, “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?” So as we approach this text today I want us to consider again for a moment verse 24 of , Jesus concludes his initial teaching by saying,

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

The rich young ruler
This statement is reminiscent of Jesus’ later interaction with the rich young man in . If you would turn together with me, we’ll read starting in verse 16,

The Rich Young Man

16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The first & greatest commandment
Scripture teaches us that the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind strength and soul, and what Jesus does here in is reveal to this rich young man that while he thinks he’s done all that he needs to do to be saved, that in fact, he’s missed the whole point.
You see, the joy of salvation is not escaping judgement, it’s getting God. He’s the pearl of great price. He the one worth giving away all that we have, to possess. We were not created so that we might go our own way and build our own kingdoms, we were created for God, and for his glory. And this man’s heart does not love God, this man does not treasure God, instead his treasure is his earthly possessions, his earthly kingdom. The young man doesn’t leave everything behind to follow Jesus, instead it says that “when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” He could not serve both God and money, therefore he served money.
The danger of putting our hope in earthly treasures
And as I said before this is the reason Jesus often gave his followers the admonition to go and “sell all that you have,” () because he knew how dangerous money was to the human heart. In essence he was saying, “for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” () So he tells them to make heaven their treasure, to lay up treasures there, that their hearts might be there.
If our hope is in God then we have no need to worry
And if there treasure is found in heaven, and their hope is found in God, then there’s no reason to be anxious about their lives here on earth. That’s why Jesus says there in verse 25,
Now, back in verse 25 of , we Jesus continuing his emphasis

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.

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? 26 Look 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?

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?

Now, going back to verse 25 of , given the fact that Jesus has just told his disciples to serve God and not money, one might wonder then how their material needs should be met if they’re to be willing to forgo their all of their possessions for the sake of serving God. Which is what I think Jesus addresses here in verses 25-34, by essentially saying, “do not be anxious about your life”, remember that “your heavenly Father knows that you need” all of these things. He goes on to tell his disciples to trust God for their provision.
And he goes on,

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look 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?

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

What he’s saying is that these things are not ends unto themselves. They’re not what life is about, they are needed yes, but they are not the point. He’s directing their gaze heavenward.
And he continues in verse 26 by saying,

26 Look 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?

He comforts them by reminding them that they are more valuable to their Father in heaven than the birds of the air, and that God does not neglect to take care of them. Therefore it follows that God will not neglect to take care of his children.
His care will not be without hardship
It would also be worth mentioning a this point that while God does take care of us, this does not mean that his care will be without hardship. In fact, it’s because we know that he cares and that he’s in control over the circumstances of our lives, that we can endure those hardships, that we do not have to worry, but that we can trust in the good providence of God. The assumption here in this text is that God’s care will follow the good purposes of his will.
We should always recall to mind the great promise of that “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” God works even through the evil intentions of men and the devil for our good. It doesn’t mean that we will always escape the consequences of their evil actions but that God will cause those evil actions to ultimately work for our good as his people.
Worry is futile
Jesus continues in verse 27,

27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

The necessity of earthy things
What Jesus is pointing out here is that worry is rooted in trusting our inability to control our circumstances. This is why Jesus reminds us that by being anxious we cannot add even a single hour to our lives, that’s how disabled we are in terms of controlling our circumstances. He’s pointing out that worrying is utterly futile.
Living unconscious 1/3 of the time
Have you every considered that most of you will spend at least 1/3 of your entire lives unconscious? If you live 75 years on this earth you’ll spend 25 of those years asleep. I’m convinced, as one writer put it, that “one of the reasons God made us to sleep is to remind us every day that he can manage just fine without us."
Demolishing self-reliance
In the Gospel according to Luke he records this very same teaching of Jesus but adds this,

26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?
The point here is to demolish our reliance upon the self, and to replace it with a reliance upon God. This is the essence of the gospel and this is the essence of the entire Christian walk, to trust God. The gospel demands a complete reliance upon Christ for our righteousness, for our right standing with God. This means turning away from our sin and trusting in the righteousness of Jesus for salvation. And just as we rely upon Christ for our justification, we rely continually upon the grace of God as he conforms us into the image and likeness of his Son. Our frailty should not cause us to wallow in anxiety, our frailty should drive us to Christ.
Are you not more valuable than a flower?
Our frailty should not cause us to wallow in our anxiety, our frailty out to drive us to Christ.
Don't you see how futile your efforts are to add even a single hour to your life? Doesn't that cause you to see that you cannot rely upon yourself, that the task is beyond your ability and your control? And it's for this reason Jesus goes on to command us to rely upon God, to trust in his ability and willingness to take care of us as his children. He says there , starting in verse 28,
In verse 28 Jesus gives us yet another example and says,

28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.

In the first century, plants provided people with a regular source of fuel for their household ovens, so flowers and grass would light up landscape in color one day, and later be quickly thrown into the oven. So on one hand the lilies of the field are largely insignificant, yet on the other hand they’re arrayed in splendor incomparable to even a king.
He says, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” The lilies of the field
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
Jesus’ point is that if God is willing to show such great care toward such an insignificant plant, then how much more is he willing to clothe you, to care for you, O you of little faith? Are you not immeasurably more valuable to him than a flower? The answer is obviously, yes. If God is able and willing to take care of the flower and the grass how much more able and willing is he to take care of us?
If God is able and willing to take care of the grass how much more able and willing to take care of us?
We are not to be idle
Now the point here isn't that we aren't to work hard, the point isn't that we should to sit idly by and wait for checks in the mail. As Martin Luther once said, “God provides food for the birds, but he does not drop it into their beaks.” Instead we work, trusting ultimately in the providence of God, trusting that our efforts will not be in vain.
This doesn't mean that our efforts will always produce in the ways we hope they will, but that we will not be anxious concerning our lives, because we trust in our Lord's hand of providence. Knowing that we are not at the mercy of so called random chance, but under the good and wise care of our heavenly Father.
Seek first the kingdom of God
Let’s continue reading in verses 32-33,
The necessity of earthy things

32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Notice the use of the work ‘seek’ here both in verses 32 and 33. The use of this word in both instances is meant to help contrast what unbelievers seek after versus what believers seek after. Jesus reiterates to his disciples that it would backwards for them to seek after all of these things like the unbelievers do, because life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. In fact, the chief priority of a disciple is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, everything else is secondary at best, and serves only to promote that primary aim.
The necessity of earthy things
The necessity of earthy things
It isn’t that we don't need food, clothing, or homes. God has certainly ordained that we require these earthly things. The problem arises when we seek after these things at the expense of God’s kingdom and our pursuit of personal holiness. But when we make God’s kingdom and his righteousness our chief priority, then we need not be anxious about our life, because we come to understand that our Father knows that we need these things, and that all of these things will be provided, that he will take care of us.
The problem is our sinful propensity to trust in our own strength. When we trust in ourselves we put ourselves in the place of God, we take up his role and his responsibilities. We trust in ourselves rather than our heavenly Father.
And it isn’t that we don't need food, clothing, or homes. God has certainly ordained that we should require these earthly things. The problem is our sinful propensity to trust in our own strength. When we trust in ourselves we put ourselves in the place of God, we take up his role and his responsibilities. We trust in ourselves rather than our Creator.

Conclusion

Jesus’ intent is that the kingdom of heaven and it's priorities might take precedent in our lives. That heavenly priorities might govern our earthly priorities. And it’s only then will we no longer be anxious about our life. Let’s pray.

Prayer

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