LEARNING FROM THE BIRDS
Sovereign Lord, Your love and my needs draw me to You. I’m ready for a word from You today.
Read MATTHEW 6:25–34
Do Not Worry
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[a]?
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.
- Matthew 6:27 Or single cubit to your height
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Grant us the wisdom and humility to delight in, and learn from, the whole created world.
We noticed earlier that the call of Jesus to discipleship involved a break from secure employment and the close family circle. The decision of Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Christ involved a radical trust in God and a willingness to live together in simple trust that ‘daily bread’ (v 11) would be provided. This offered a striking contrast to the world in which people ‘run after’ material things (v 32). Yet Jesus understands the risk this involved for His followers and that they would experience anxiety when faith was tested.
In responding to His disciples’ needs, Jesus points to the natural world of birds and flowers to illustrate the Creator’s loving provision for the whole of His creation. The contrast with Solomon ‘in all his splendor’ (v 29) suggests that the king had allowed the spirit of pagans who ‘run after all these things’ to control his heart and life. Jesus’ appeal to the care and bounty of God seen in creation is consistent with his description of the disciples as ‘the salt of the earth’.1
Christians in the twenty-first century face an additional challenge. Our world is one in which whole species of birds are vanishing, insects on which they once fed are being eliminated, and forests and natural habitats on land and in the sea are poisoned and degraded, posing a deepening threat to the entire creation. How do we apply Jesus’ words to this situation? If the crisis we face is the result of a way of life in which we all ‘run after all these things’, then the way of Jesus, involving a radical trust in the Creator God and His provision for the basic needs of all His creatures, offers a path to healing and salvation. The Sermon on the Mount is truly good news for our broken world.
Jesus lived close to animals, birds, and plants. How might we imitate Him today? How important is this, when our planet is under threat?
Lord Jesus, I have a struggle to trust in completely yet I long for such a trust. Strengthen my confidence and trust in You so that I can take You at Your word!
1 Matt 5:13
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