Matthew tells us that God commands us not to worry, here is why: Trust God’s Provision, Not Your Own (6:25–34)
SUPPORTING IDEA: Jesus’ followers must be motivated by confidence in the Father’s provision for their basic needs. In this passage, we find the word worry or worrying six times. The word Therefore at the beginning of 6:25 is important in helping us understand the relationship between a kingdom servant and the king. In 6:19–24, the king expounded on his demand for unreserved devotion. Beginning in 6:25, he began to say, “Now, when you enter into this kind of total commitment to me, I am going to take care of you. Do not worry.”
Our commitment to him and his commitment to us go hand in hand. They are part of the covenant relationship he has established with his people. The person who is totally committed to the king has no need for worry.
This entire passage focuses almost exclusively on God’s provision of (and our anxiety over) food and clothing. However, we must see these two items as simply two concrete examples used to teach a broader principle. We could just as easily insert any other basic need (shelter, a community of belonging, and so on) that can be a source of anxiety, which is also provided by the Father, and the principle applies equally. However, the examples of food and clothing are well chosen (particularly for the first-century world), because they are so foundational to our survival, and they illustrate so well the Father’s provision for us.6:25. Jesus’ point could be translated as “stop worrying.” The rhetorical questions in 6:25b imply, “If God is the provider of life and body, he will also provide for their sustenance.”6:26.
In this verse Jesus came to the first of two illustrations, supporting his main theme in verse 25. Note the use again of the phrase heavenly Father, especially in this context of God’s loving care. Jesus was not advocating waiting lazily for God’s provision, but avoiding anxiety as we take responsibility for obtaining it.6:27. This verse moves away from the specific example of food to the broader picture of anxiety in general, showing its utter futility.
There is controversy over this verse’s translation, but the NIV translates it as add a single hour to his life. Jesus was saying, “If you try to take your basic provision into your own hands, you will find you do not have the power over life and death. Only God has this power, and he will sustain you as long as his plan intends.”6:28–30. Here we are given a more fully developed picture of the second illustration supporting Jesus’ main point in verse 25. Verse 30 is a conditional statement, assuming the truth of the condition.
So it could just as easily be translated, “Since that is how God clothes the grass of the field.” The qualifying phrase, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, emphasizes the transience and worthlessness of the grass.
If God cares so much for something of little value, he will certainly care even more for us who are of much greater value to him. This passage is not only an exhortation to trust the Father, but it is also an affirmation of our great worth in his eyes.The words you of little faith in 6:30 should be translated literally “little faith ones” (and is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in Matt. 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; 17:20; Luke 12:28).
While it can be a confrontational term, it may also be endearing. In this context, Jesus’ tone was not scolding, but coaxing and reasoning. He was asking, “Do you trust your Father or not?”—not with a slap in our face, but with an arm around our shoulder. Jesus was not belittling his disciples; he was encouraging them upward.6:31–33. With these three verses, having illustrated and supported his theme, Jesus built his climax. In verse 32, he made two more points about anxiety.
First, it was downright pagan; anxiety was the attitude of those who were not a part of God’s kingdom. Second, it was totally unnecessary to worry about what to eat or drink or wear, because your heavenly Father knows that you need them.If our life is not to be preoccupied with fretting over basic needs, what is our concern to be? The answer is, his kingdom and his righteousness. Those two terms are almost synonymous. God’s kingdom means his sovereign rule in heaven and on earth, most particularly in and through the life of the individual believer.
To seek his kingdom is to seek to ensure that his righteousness is done in heaven, on earth, and, most particularly, in and through our lives.We are to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness. Everything starts here. This is to be our consuming priority. So it is important to remind ourselves of some basic kingdom realities. How does a person find God’s righteousness that characterizes his kingdom? Jesus started his sermon by pointing out our utter spiritual bankruptcy.
We have no righteousness of our own. Even our best attitudes and actions do not procure it. Righteousness comes as a merciful gift, grace through faith (Eph. 2:4–10).The first reference to righteousness that we find in Scripture is Genesis 15:6. Abraham knew how a person received grace, and the apostle Paul confirmed it (Rom. 4:2–25).
The New Testament makes it clear that the righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:22–24). That is the only way we may enter into God’s kingdom. Jesus clarified this issue for Nicodemus (John 3:3). We cannot see the kingdom of God unless we are “born again.”So everything begins with our seeking his kingdom and righteousness. In fact, we are to keep on seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness. But we are not to seek in the sense of looking for something hidden. Rather, we are to look for every opportunity to expand more fully his already established rule in our lives and in our world, in anticipation of the day when believers will reign with him (Matt. 19:27–29; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26–27; 3:21) when he establishes his kingdom fully on this earth.Notice how this passage (6:25–34), which seemed to be taking us in a new direction, actually returns us to the theme of 6:19–24—that we are not to allow anything to distract us from total devotion to God and his kingdom.
This is the one priority we must embrace. Money and other concerns can distract us.Three times in verses 32 and 33, we find the phrase all these things. We might imagine Jesus using it somewhat disparagingly. This was not to belittle the importance of basic necessities, but to place them at the back of the mind of his disciples, far behind his kingdom and righteousness in importance. “”All these things” are what pagans (and the Pharisees) scrambled after. “All these things” are thoroughly known by the Father. “All these things” will fall into place when we put God’s kingdom and righteousness in its proper place and serve the kingdom’s interests.6:34. Jesus restated for the third time his command, Do not worry! This time he broadened it to include any possible anxieties we may have for tomorrow.
As an expression of trust in his heavenly Father, the kingdom servant is to live in the present, trusting the Father for the grace to cover the needs of the present. “When tomorrow comes, the Father will provide the grace to cover its needs also,” is the implied assurance.MAIN IDEA REVIEW: Jesus’ followers must be motivated by trust in God’s provision rather than trust in any earthly source.III.
Greed for material wealth can become so strong that it grows into a controlling influence in our lives. As believers, we can also be too concerned about daily necessities. Anxiety over daily needs is natural but not productive.
The more we make God’s kingdom the priority of our lives, the less we will worry about “things.”
PRINCIPLES• God sees the motives for our benevolent actions.
• God is a Father who cares about his children.
• God, who provides for plants and animals, cares even more for his children.
• Humans need to be forgiven and need to forgive those who have wronged them.
• God’s kingdom is our first priority.
• Pray to God according to his character as a generous Father.
• Build your prayer life on the simple but profound petitions of the Model Prayer.
• Seek reward from your Father in heaven, not the admiration of people on earth.
• Seek first to serve God and advance his kingdom. Do not allow any of the many possible distractions to pull this down on your priority list.
• When worry or anxiety intrudes, turn to God who cares for the flowers and provides food for the birds.
Again, seek reward from your Father in heaven, not the admiration of people on earth. God knows what you do and he knows your heart; therefore, deepen your relationship with him through Jesus! Do Not Worry! God has you covered
*Holman New Testament Commentary© 2000 Broadman & Holman Publishers Nashville, Tennessee All rights reserved
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