by Carl Kniss

Matthew 6:25-34

25 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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 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? 31 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.

In both a continuation of, (and a zero-ing in on), Jesus’ theme of scarcity and abundance in this section of the Mountain Sermon, we come to the Kingdom importance of worry versus trust, and how to think about anxiety. Perhaps one of the most challenging and common human problems of the era in which we live, Jesus is addressing anxiety here, pointing to how it can affect and afflict our lives. He shows us how, if that is the lens we are seeing through, things can get out of focus in a hurry.

But Jesus offers a powerful lens corrective for our out-of-focus tendencies, and that’s what we want to reflect on together this week. We will come to see how a Kingdom lens can re-focus things for us, and we will think together about how to maintain the clarity of that lens in our lives, when there are many forces in our world that tend to darken and distort our vision.

Questions to reflect on as we move towards Sunday…

–        How much am I aware of the role and effect of worry/anxiety in my life?

–        What does “Life is more important than food” mean if life depends on food?

–        What happens inside us when we hear Jesus say “Look at the birds of the air”, yet we’ve seen birds starve, and we’ve had loved ones die too young?

–        Do tragic losses and injustices around us make it hard to have faith and trust in God?

–        How do we understand the connection between “Seeking first God’s kingdom” and having our material needs met? Does it even connect in our thinking?