[Matthew 6:25-34, 7:7-11]
“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?” Matthew 6:25
In the next section of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addresses the issue of God’s provision for us as Kingdom citizens. As human beings we tend to be very good at being anxious. We need to have enough food in the fridge, enough clothes in the wardrobe, enough fuel in the tank. We are experts at finding things to worry about. What if the presentation goes wrong? What if the weather is bad? What is there is a power cut? What if I get a flat tire? But Jesus reminds us that all this worry and anxiety is pointless. “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew 6:27
Jesus’ message is clear – as Kingdom citizens our lives should not be marked by anxiety, but by a contented trust in God’s provision. He reminds us that just as God clothes the grass and the flowers “will he not much more clothe you, o you of little faith?” Matthew 6:30. To Jesus the opposite of a life of anxiety is a life of faith. Faith that God will provide for His Kingdom citizens, Faith that God knows what we need, and will not ignore us. Faith that is prepared to surrender control to God and let our thoughts be occupied with the things of the Kingdom rather than worldly concerns like what we will eat or wear.
We have to trust that God knows what we need (v32) and is a Father who “lives to give good things to those who ask Him”. Here is the important thing to get – God knows what we need. Often we don’t know what we need. We know what we want, but what we actually need is very different. And if God gave us all we wanted often it would be bad for us. We want relationships that would harm us. We want wealth that would come at the expense of others. We want joy that would mean sorrow for others. But God knows what we need for our calling to live for Jesus and advance the Kingdom. He knows the things that would end up anaesthetising us to the lost world around us, and rather than giving us what we want but which will ultimately harm us and those around us instead He provides us with the good things we actually need, which is far more loving of Him.
In the Kingdom God provides for all of our needs. We live in the now and not yet of the Kingdom, which has come and is coming, so we can see conflict. We can see needs that do not appear to be met yet. We see people who are hungry or thirsty or in need of clothes, and it can seem like God has not provided for their needs. But we have to remember that there are still other forces at work for now. Lesser powers of corruption, jealousy and greed. God has provided, but we have been poor stewards, leaving some starving while others die of obesity. As Kingdom citizens who trust in God’s provision of what we need for all rather than provision of excess to the favoured few we have the challenge of doing something about that.
“For I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content” Philippian 4:11