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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Today’s Reading | Matthew 6:25–34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NRSV)


Reflection

This passage occurs in Matthew’s Gospel as part of many teachings that occur in the context of Jesus speaking to the crowds that followed him at the time. How odd these sayings must have sounded to the ears of those who came to hear Jesus! This passage still strikes us as strangely contrary to daily life and common sense. Who among us doesn’t worry about things like what we will eat or drink, or what we will wear?

What is striking in these teachings is the way Jesus turns upside down the priorities that we earthly creatures tend to live by and the way they thereby reveal the deeper truth of what Jesus proclaimed to be his kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. Later, when Jesus is questioned by Pilate, Jesus claims that his kingdom is not of this world. In contemporary language we might say that the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is “out of this world” in terms of what the world finds important and valuable.

Jesus does not dismiss the things of this world, for our Heavenly Father loves the world and knows what we earthly creatures need. Jesus simply wants to put all this into a new perspective that allows us to live a life free of preoccupation or even enslavement to the things of this world. To live in righteousness is to seek first the kingdom of heaven, to live in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, the Christ, who is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. Jesus calls us not to worry, because to worry is to lose sight of the Truth found in him, a life of trust and faith in our loving Heavenly Father. When we live a life of trust and faith we discover that contrary to common sense, “all these [earthly] things will be given to you as well.


Prayer

Lord, teach me that to live righteously is to put my trust in you and to be amazed when you give us each day our daily bread and surprise us with the Bread of Heaven. Amen.


Written by Michael DeVries, member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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