Rev. Matthew DeBoer, pastor of Edgerton PRC in Edgerton, Minnesota

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?… Matthew 6:25-32 

The text speaks of something we all struggle with, worry. We get anxious about many things, including our physical needs. In Matthew 6:25, 

Jesus tells us not to worry, saying, “Take no thought for your life.” As planting season begins, may this passage remind us to trust in our heavenly Father to supply our needs and lead us to pray more and more. 

Our great struggle 

To take thought for your life is to worry about your earthly existence. To live, we need food, drink, and clothing, things that verse 25 mentions. To take thought for your life is to be anxious about getting those things that you need to survive. 

In this text Jesus implies that His disciples then, and we His children today, often do worry. He states, “And why take ye thought for raiment?” (v. 28). The future is uncertain to us, and we easily become anxious about our daily needs being met. Often, worry begins with a “what if” question. Older people might worry, “What if I still do not have enough money to retire next year? I cannot work much longer, but I still have all these medical expenses to pay.” Parents might worry, “What if tuition or the church budget increases? What if I lose my job?” Young people might think, “What if I do not perform well enough on this test to get into college and acquire the scholarships I need?” Or, “What if I do not get a good enough paying job in my desired field?” 

In Matthew 6, Jesus especially speaks of a worry concerning things we need, but we also sometimes worry about obtaining things we do not need but simply want to have. Many of us have a high standard of living to- day. In the midst of financial difficulties, we can become anxious that we will have to move out of the nice house for which we worked hard, or worry that we will not be able to afford the annual trip that the family anticipates. 

When we worry, Satan rejoices, because worrying is a sin that leads to many other sins. Worry has long tentacles that reach into many other parts of our lives. One of the main sins it leads to is covetousness. Parents, being worried about paying tuition, can think, “I wish I had money like the neighbors.” Worry also breeds anger and irritability. Imagine a father looking at the checkbook and thinking, “There is no way we will be able to pay all this tuition.” He is bothered. He is not in control. Just then, his son comes in and asks about getting a certain toy and he snaps, “No,” and begins to rant. Worry can also lead to picking up shifts on the Sabbath Day. It may result in a student cheating on a test. When we worry, Satan claps. 

Worry is a problem for us, and the text gives us the root of the problem: little faith. After talking about worry over clothing in verses 28-29, Jesus says in verse 30, “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” 

What is “little faith?” Faith is a bond by which we, God’s people, are united to Christ. Faith becomes an activity in the child of God. Being united to Christ, we believe God’s Word. We believe God is Almighty and thus able to give us all we need physically and spiritually. We believe He is our Father for Jesus’ sake and willing to give us all we need. Sometimes, however, we have “little faith,” meaning that we are not strong in our activity of faith. We still have faith. We are still connected to Christ, and that connection never breaks. Yet, we are small in our belief that God’s Word is true. We are little in our trust in God the Father Almighty to supply all our needs. We face a huge medical expense and we begin to doubt God, thinking, “What if I will not have enough?” 

When we have little faith, we worry. We worry about getting necessities. We worry about getting things that are not necessities, failing to trust that God knows best what we need and provides what we need. When we have little faith, the Devil smiles. 

Christ tells us that the root of our anxiety is little faith, and we ought to be thankful that He makes this known. If you are feeling sick, you want to get to the root of the problem. The problem cannot be fixed until the doctor gets to the root of the issue. The Great Physician has brought us to the root of our worrying, and He leads us in combating it. 

Our difficult calling 

When calling us to take no thought for our lives, Jesus gives several reasons why we must not worry about receiving the things we need. What He says shows how foolish worrying is. 

First, Christ teaches that since God gives us life and a body, He certainly can and will provide necessary food and clothing. Verse 25 says, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” God provides us with the great gifts of life and a body. Thus, He surely can and will give us the lesser gifts, food and drink, for as long as He has planned for us to live here on earth. 

Second, Christ instructs that if God provides for birds and grass, He certainly will provide for us, His precious children. Verse 26 says, “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” The birds do not have our advantages. They cannot plant crops in a field and then store food in barns or freezers. Yet, they do not worry about where their next meal will come from. The Lord provides for them. In verses 28-30, Jesus points to the grass, indicacting that we do not see the lilies of the field making extra effort to have beautiful clothes, but God clothes them so that they look more glorious than King Solomon in all his royal attire. Birds and grass are of small value. Birds are not God’s children. Grass and lilies are around for a short time, and then serve as fuel for an oven (v. 30). In contrast to birds and grass, we are God’s sons and daughters. Jesus calls God our heavenly Father (v. 26). By nature, Satan is the father of us sinners, but God sent His only begotten Son to pay for our sins so that we might be in His holy family. If God provides for birds and grass, which are of small value, how much more will He care for you, His blood-bought sons and daughters? 

Third, regarding the folly of worrying, Jesus teaches that it is a waste of time and energy. Verse 27 says, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Can you make yourself taller by worrying? Of course, not! Worrying achieves nothing. Often, when we get anxious, we think of many possible outcomes that will never occur, and even if they do happen, there is nothing we can do about it. Worrying only brings misery. 

Last, Jesus explains in verse 32 that we must not worry because God knows our needs and is able and willing to provide as our heavenly Father. He says, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” God knows every need of every one of His children at every moment. Jesus calls Him “heavenly” to remind us that He is far above us earthly creatures in power, and thus has the strength to give us what He knows we need. Christ adds the term “Father” to remind us that He not only can supply our every need, but He wills to do so. 

Seeing the truth about worry, we must not take thought for our lives, but instead trust in our Father. We are not to limit Him like the Israelites did when wandering through the wilderness, thinking, “Our problems are too great!” When somebody comes to us during our struggles and reminds us that God will provide, we must not say to ourselves, “They do not really know my sit- uation.” Instead, in the midst of difficult circumstances and temptations to worry, we ought to reflect on the birds and lilies, and say to ourselves, “Our heavenly Father feeds and clothes them, and are not we much better than they?” We ought to remind ourselves, “Worry is a waste of time!” We must remember that God is our heavenly Father who knows our needs and is able and willing to provide for us for Jesus’ sake. And so we must trust in Him. 

A beautiful way to express trust in God for all our needs is by praying that He would provide. May we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” regularly. May we pray this petition when we sit down for a meal and whenever we start to feel anxious. 

Prayer is a wonderful gift. God gives us what we need in the way of prayer. He has determined in eternity to supply all our needs. He has determined to provide our needs in the way of us asking for His provision. He also calms our fears as we pray. We know this from experience. We pray, “Heavenly Father, give us this day what we need,” and we experience peace. That name, “heavenly Father,” reminds us that He is able and willing to provide! 

Our only strength 

We will never trust in the Lord and pray in our own strength. Left to ourselves, we will worry. Farmers will become anxious about their crops. All of us will worry about having enough and even worry about having things we do not need. 

We “take no thought” for our lives only by God’s power. He is our “heavenly Father.” By Christ’s Spirit, He strengthens us, His children He sees in Christ, to trust in Him to supply all our needs. He moves us to trust in Him more and more through the Word. By His might, let us take no thought for our lives, but instead look to Him, regularly praying, “Heavenly Father, supply our needs.”