Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2007-12-12 12:39.

Posted in | printer-friendly version »

Regarding life’s necessities, Jesus basically taught, “Do not worry.” Instead of giving in to anxiety concerning the need for food, drink, and clothing, disciples of God’s Son were to look to his Father to make it possible for them to have life’s essentials. The “soul” or one’s existence as a person is more than just a matter of having food, and the body is more than just an object to be clothed. Life as a human does not mean merely existing to eat and to wear garments. (Matthew 6:25)

Through his Father’s providential care, as Jesus pointed out, birds are able to obtain food, although they do not sow, harvest, or gather supplies into storage places. Applying the object lesson, Jesus raised the questions, “Are you not worth more than they are? Who of you by worrying can add a cubit [a small amount (a measure of merely some 18 inches) of length] to his life?” (Matthew 6:26, 27) Everyone listening knew that their worth was far greater than that of birds and that worry would accomplish nothing.

As to clothing, Jesus called attention to the “lilies” or common flowers growing in the fields. Although neither laboring nor spinning, the flowers were robed in splendor exceeding that of Solomon, the wealthiest of Israelite kings. Jesus could authoritatively say this, as he had seen the magnificence of Solomon’s attire. In view of the beauty with which God has arrayed the flowers that quickly fade and may the next day, when dry, be cast into an oven to start a fire, would he not also clothe the disciples? Jesus’ referring to them as having “little faith” may imply that they had a tendency to be anxious despite evidence of God’s providential care for the creation. (Matthew 6:28-30)

Concluding his teaching about not worrying, Jesus added that his disciples should not be like the people of the nations who do not know God and anxiously say, “What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to put on?” For such people, “seeking” life’s essentials or being fully occupied by thoughts and efforts to acquire food, drink, and clothing was their whole existence. (Matthew 6:31, 32)

In the case of his disciples, Jesus continued, “Your Father in the heavens knows you need these things. Seek, then, first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be granted to you. Therefore, never worry about the next day, for the next day will have its own cares [literally, worries or anxieties]; enough for each day [is] its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:32-34) In his providential care, our loving heavenly Father will not overlook our needs, all of which are fully known to him. Never will he abandon those for whom seeking his kingdom and his righteousness occupies the foremost place in life and who prove themselves to be willing and dependable workers, conscientiously using their God-given abilities to obtain life’s necessities.

Seeking God’s kingdom would involve earnestly desiring to have him as our Sovereign, submitting ourselves to do his will and looking to him to sustain us. For us, seeking his righteousness could include endeavoring to live uprightly and trusting fully in his saving justice, confident that he will always fulfill his promise to provide and care for us. It is enough for one to have to deal with daily problems or concerns without adding to one’s burdens by needless and unproductive worry.


At another time, according to Luke 12:22-32, Jesus repeated this vital teaching about anxiety.

The objective of seeking something is to find it and to have it in one’s possession. Therefore, seeking God’s kingdom relates to wanting to be under his sovereignty and living accordingly, and seeking his righteousness could embrace desiring to be upright in harmony with his will and also to be a recipient of his just dealings. God’s justice or righteousness can be depended on, as he always fulfills his word.