Prepare to Listen. Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 6:25-34
25Therefore 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? 26Look 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? 27And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But 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? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
I confess, I’m a worrier. I worry about big and small things; stuff I can control and stuff I can’t. So I’d prefer not to read these words of Jesus and usually merely gloss over them. What I’ve read about worry makes me feel guilty. Things like: “Worry is essentially a failure to trust God;” and “Faith for Jesus is the opposite of anxiety. If we are anxious, if we are trying to control everything, if we are worried about many things, we don’t have faith, according to Jesus. We do not trust that God is good and on our side.” You understand why I feel guilty!
Jesus used the word worry six times and three times he said, ‘Do not worry.’ Do not worry about your life; do not worry about food, drink, clothing; do not worry about tomorrow. I’m one of the fortunate in the world. I don’t need to worry about these things, but I still do. I know I’m not the only Christian who worries. Wright maintains “that surprisingly few people even try to take up” these words and live them.
What intrigued me about these familiar words of Jesus, is that he didn’t judge us for worrying. He diagnosed the problem as ‘little faith.’ Then gave a simple command, using illustrations from nature. Look at the birds of the air; consider the lilies (a word that includes a variety of plants) and the grass of the field. Birds, lilies, grass, all small and familiar. But how often do we pause to look and consider them? If God takes care of those seemingly unimportant things, why do we worry?
When you’re worrying, pause and look at the birds and consider the lilies and grass. Let the Lord address you through them.
Respond in Prayer
Lord, when I find myself worrying, let me remember to look and consider creation and be reminded of your care for the little creatures and thus be assured of your care for me. Amen.
Live Obediently. Look and linger over the small things in creation.
 Green, Michael. The Message of Matthew. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press. 2000, p. 104.
 Rohr, Richard. Jesus’ Alternative Plan: The Sermon on the Mount. Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media. 2022, p. 147.
 Wright, N. T. Matthew for Everyone Part 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2004, p. 67.
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.