Living Life As It Comes

look-at-the-birds-of-the-air-matt-6-26In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus said “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

It is commonly understood by Christians that we are not to worry or be anxious and seek first the kingdom of God although we all fail at times to trust God in the midst of trials and due to the weakness of our flesh.  But two things struck me when I read this passage recently.  While it is made clear by numerous scriptures such as II These 3:10 that Christians are to work diligently to provide for themselves it is important to remember that God provides the increase.  Bonhoeffer described it this way – because God gives man nothing unless he work, it may seem that it was his labor that sustained him.  However, even though the little birds neither sow nor reap, the birds would certainly die if they did not fly to get the food.  The fact that they find food is not due to their own labor, while necessary, but God’s goodness as he placed the food for them to find.  In the same way, although Christians are to work diligently, it is the goodness of God that provides the fruits for our labor (or in some cases in his sovereignty to some degree withholds the fruits).

Second, the statement that sufficient for the day is its own trouble.  Christians are to live in the present.  This does not mean that we do not plan responsibly but we take each day as God gives it to us.  Christians are eternal beings created to eventually live in the eternal present and therefore worrying about the future is not natural for us and creates corresponding problems when we do.

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