A Walk through the Book of Luke
March 17, 2023
Matthew 6:25-33; Luke 11:22-34
“Do Not Worry”
Time to hit the pause button
As I explained in my first devotion in this series, I wanted to concentrate on the parables of Jesus in the book of Luke. But, every once in a while, it’s good to take a pause so you don’t miss something important.
Everyone has their own favorite or what they consider to be a meaningful Bible verse. Mine is Matthew 6:25:33 (as well as Luke 12:22-34). These are the passages about worry Jesus discusses in His Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a specific reason for this being my favorite passage.
Back in the early 1990s, I was struggling quite a bit. I was involved at my church, teaching a youth Bible study and presenting children’s messages on Sunday mornings.
My position as a sales manager for a food distributor was ending (The company was being bought out, and none of the middle management (me) was going to be picked up. At the same time, I was being pulled more and more toward ministry. That’s when I asked to meet with my Pastor.
We met for dinner, and throughout the meal and after, I poured out my heart about many things. My life, the church, my job, money, and marriage. My Pastor listened intently and only commented when he wanted more information.
When I was finished talking, his first words to me were, “Matthew 6, Do not worry.” For the next few minutes, every time I asked my Pastor a question about a worry or potential problem, his reply was, “Matthew 6, Do not worry.” Finally, He told me to read Matthew 6:25-34 over and over again.
That night, I took my Pastor’s advice and read the Matthew passage repeatedly. I did this for many days. Then, slowly, I finally understood what Pastor was trying to tell me.
This brings us to our Bible story and discussion for today.
Yes, it’s Matthew 6:25-34.
Let’s get right to it and read the Matthew passage.
“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? 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? Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon, in all his splendor, was dressed like one of these. 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? So, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I’ve always considered this a straightforward passage, so I’d like to break it into three sections.
In the first section, Jesus tells us not to worry about our basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Jesus gives us a comparison in this passage. He tells us to look at the birds of the air. They don’t do anything but eat and fly. God provides food for His creation, the birds, even if they don’t do any work to obtain it. As human beings, we are more valuable to the Lord than the birds. So, if he takes care of the birds, won’t he naturally take care of us when we work and toil for our survival.
God’s not promising that you’ll have a job and always have enough money to put food on your table. What He is saying is that He will make food available to us. Perhaps it will be through Food Stamps or meals at a food kitchen. He will provide.
Jesus goes on to speak about the flowers in the fields and how beautifully they grow and flourish. Like the birds, they do not labor for what they have. Once again, flowers die quickly, yet God gives them all this beauty when they do not work.
Once again, God will provide clothing for us even better than the flowers of the field have. Some of us will have jobs and purchase clothing. Some will go to Good Will and get their clothing at lower prices. And some will be given clothing through government and non-government programs.
God emphasizes not worrying about clothes, food, and water. These necessities will be provided one way or the other.
The second point Jesus makes is to seek God and His kingdom first. Now that you know your necessities will be taken care of, have faith in Him. When we make God our priority, He provides.
Finally, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. We have so many problems each day we need not worry about what the next catastrophe will be in our life. Our life will have problems. We should take them one day at a time.
My Pastor, that I spoke of in my opening story used to say this about worry.
“90% of what we worry about will never happen. 5% of what we worry about won’t be as bad as we think it might be. And the last 5% we need to put in God’s hands because we can’t control the circumstance. And, actually, we need to put it all in God’s hands because we can’t control any of the outcomes.”
When my daughter, Heather, was a baby, she cried a lot, like most babies. A song was the one thing that quieted her down and let her release what was bothering her. You’ve probably heard it. Let me leave you with the song’s first verse, which tells us how to deal with worry.
“Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
If every life, we have some trouble
But when you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now.”