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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today’s Scripture 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)

As good advice goes, for me this passage ranks right up there with eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. It makes terrific sense, but it seems to defy every instinct and obligation of my daily life. As a part-time farmer, I know there are tasks that require my attention, many of them that require something to be done in a specific season and with some urgency or bad things happen. As a businessman, my clients, management and coworkers pretty much demand that I meet goals and deadlines. As a family man, I know the priorities of caring for those I love. I may not be adding a single hour to my life, but if I run fast enough and worry about the details, it seems like I can forestall the calamity and keep a step ahead. And then there’s that looming retirement to fund!

So, I worry. So, I behave like a pagan. Clearly if I had more faith I might be able to breathe a sigh of relief and rest in the Father’s arms, but right now it feels like there are places to go and bills to pay.

There is great comfort to know that God will take care of all my needs if only I will seek first the Kingdom. How do I develop the habits and practices to put this first in my schedule? The Lenten season offers a wonderful time to contemplate the Kingdom and God’s righteousness.

My heavenly Father, please help me to calm my heart and become a seeker of your Kingdom, your righteousness, and your comfort. Help me lay aside the petty cares of daily life, at least enough to reflect your love in my life and into the lives of others. Amen.

Written by Ed Coke, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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