Saturday 19 February 2022

Bible Book:

'But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.' (v. 33)

Matthew 6:28-34 Saturday 19 February 2022

Psalm 81


Another day worrying about texts on worrying. Am I repeating myself? Why get me to write about worrying?

Today's text continues from yesterday’s “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)

Consider the short lifespan of all the things mentioned in today's text: lilies, grass, food, drink, and even clothing. All these get consumed and then 'die'.Jesus says don’t worry about the things you need to stay alive such as food, drink, and clothing because God clothes things that hardly last any time at all, for example lilies and grasses. So many of our worries are about survival (especially about comfortable 'survival'). The examples Jesus gives are of things that God makes beautiful and don’t worry or toil, but they are things that don't survive very long.

These verses only make sense to me if Jesus has a completely different view of death. In our society death is frequently a big taboo. It is seen as failure, as losing a battle; we worry about it; we dare not talk about it; and fear of it motivates us to focus on treasure here and now. 

When Jesus talks of lilies and grasses that are beautiful but which die quickly he isn’t seeing death in the same way as our society. Throughout Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount Jesus is telling us to have a longer perspective, and to have spiritual rather than earthly focuses and priorities.

Hence, the alternative to worrying about what we need to stay alive is to “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (verse 33). That fits with the other texts we have considered this week in which we have considered our attitude to money, 'a sound eye', our priorities and our focus.

Much of the reason we worry is because we focus only on this life. We would be less worried if we had a longer perspective, one that looks to eternity and doesn’t see death as failure or defeat, and if we looked to our treasure kept in heaven.

When we considered the Lord’s Prayer on Monday, I suggested we notice the timing that we assume. Our fear of death limits our potential to understand God’s timing and leaves us with fear and worry. Alternatively striving for God’s kingdom connects us both to the present and to eternity, which are great antidotes to worry.


To Ponder:

  •  Why has our society become more fearful of death? 
  • How might being less frightened of death be life-giving now and for eternity?
  • How might striving for God’s kingdom reduce or replace worry? 
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