Last time we were in the sermon on the mount, we looked at Jesus’ during discussion on laying up those treasures in heaven, instead of here on earth where moths and rust will eventually destroy everything we ever work for. We saw how our eyesight was connected to our “heartsight”. And of course we get to Jesus famous conclusion to our thoughts that we can have one foot in each kingdom, the Kingdom of God and our own kingdom on earth – “”No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24 ESV
Since we now know that we can not serve both God and money, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
If we are treasuring the things in heaven and not the things of earth, what do we ever have to worry about? The world is a perfectly safe place for us to be. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:6 ESV.
Does this still sound strange to you? It sounds strange to me. I’d like to think I might grow into it someday, this relying on the Kingdom of Heaven instead of fretting and worrying about all the “things” I’m “working” for everyday.
In reality, most of us live and see the physical, earthly reality as the only reality there is. So, to treasure anything beyond what we can see is wrong, it is to live your life based on an illusion. As Dallas Willard puts it, “We must be prepared to be treated as more or less crazy unless we value what is “on earth” as supreme for human existence.”
But to value what is on earth, what is seen and touched, is to seal our fate. That fate is anxiety, worry, and frustration. The words anxious and worry both reference being strangled or choked, and that is how we feel when we are anxious – life has us by the throats and we are being choked out. The world is throwing us around, having its way with us, and we just can’t seem to do anything about it but lay up at night stressing over what we can’t control anyway.
We have the option, though, of relying on Jesus and the kingdom of God. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Life is not about food, the body is not about clothes. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Life is about a place in Gods eternal, immortal kingdom here and now. Eternity is not just some way off place and time to which we will be transported when we die. Eternity has already begun, and our living in the kingdom of God prepared by Jesus Christ begins now.
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? Why does Jesus talk about birds here?? What do birds have to do with us? Jesus points to the birds because they do not lay up treasures here on earth. They receive, from God and His good creation, their daily bread as they need it daily. They are an example of “Give us this day our daily bread,” lived out every day before us. We should remember manna from heaven came to the Israelites to be gathered each and every day for their sustenance, which would spoil from one day to the next except over the sabbath.
Jesus uses children as a similar example. A little child has no ability on its own to store goods and live independently of those around them. Our children just assume that they will be fed on a daily basis. But Jesus tells us regarding children “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4 ESV, and “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 ESV.
We are told by Jesus to be more like the birds and the little children, but our lives are hard. We have to work hard, without hard work, we just can’t survive in this world in which God himself has placed us, right? Again, look to the birds as an example. Jesus used them as an example of living off the daily food given by God, but does that mean birds do not work. Of course not!! Look at the birds right outside your window. (Maybe this is why Jesus used birds for an example – they are everywhere!). Birds are some of the hardest working citizens of this world. Some are observed to work very hard. But they don’t seem to have to worry about the basic supports of their life, like food, water and shelter. They just seek as they need and take what they find. This is the example Jesus wants us to follow. Having our treasure in heaven instead of building a treasure here frees us to live in the present for our basic needs. We work hard, because life is hard. We care and provide for those we love. But we do not need to worry. We have food and clothing and God. As the great apostle Paul put it – “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV
“”Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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: 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 which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious 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 arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Matthew 6:25-34 ESV