Hi everyone. Rob here.
In Matthew 6:31-34 Jesus says this:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
It’s worth remembering that Jesus is giving this advice to people who were poor and needy. They had no food security. They lived day by day. To ask people like that not to worry almost seems cruel. How can you not worry in circumstances like that! But we all know that worrying is a pointless and fruitless activity. It just creates fear and never creates faith.
The alternative that Jesus offers us is to seek first the kingdom of God. Jesus asks us to seek God and trust God for what we need each day. His kingdom has enough for us. This principle of day-by-day trust runs throughout scripture. Soon after coming out of slavery, the Israelites were asked to trust God for their daily food. Manna came down out of heaven, but they could only collect one days worth. They had to trust God anew every day. The Lord’s Prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Part of what Jesus is saying is that we are not the masters of tomorrow. Tomorrow is too much for us. Today has enough trouble on its own. Trust God today. Trust him again tomorrow. Seek first his kingdom today. Seek it first again tomorrow. Cultivate a daily habit of surrender and trust. Give yourself over to a higher realm and a higher authority every day.
Jesus never pretends this is easy. Every day has trouble. There is an enemy. We carry wounds, not all of them healed. We are forgetful, fragile and fickle creatures. But we are also made for God’s kingdom. When Jesus tells us to seek it first he’s asking us to make our way home, trust the resources of home and trust the Father and Son who run the home. He’s also asking us to seek the kingdom’s glory before our own. That is, we are asked to give ourselves over to the kingdom so that we reflect the kingdom in all that we say and do.
It’s hard to imagine a life without worry, isn’t it? I used to combat worry by not caring, but that kind of self-protective posing has no place in the kingdom. It was clothing that didn’t fit. True freedom comes from surrender, from giving all things over to God, including our reputations. As we hand over our grip on the day we gain God’s perspective, God’s wisdom and God’s strength. But again, it’s not easy. It sometimes takes me days or weeks to fully surrender a problem. It’s hard to pull back from trying to take it back. It’s hard not to rush to our own solutions. But if we want God’s solutions then we need to give it to God. If that means doing it again and again until I truly trust God with it, then so be it.
Worry, stress and anxiety are common currency these days. We feel pressured to come up with the goods, but Jesus invites us down a different path – the path of the kingdom of God. May we surrender our burdens and travel lightly as we walk down it together.
Grace and peace.