Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)

25 “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? 26 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? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 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? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, moving from the subjects of money and eternal rewards to anxiety. Three times in this passage, Jesus exhorts his listeners with the command, “Do not be anxious” (verses 25, 31 and 34). We might think, “Are you kidding me, Jesus? Don’t be anxious?! You have no idea what kind of stress I am under.” It can seem counter-intuitive to “not be anxious.” There are so many things to worry about: finances, relationships, and health, to name just a few. Are we really not to worry about any of this? We can easily forget that Jesus actually lived in a time and culture in which lack of food was a common problem. The majority of people woke up wondering if they would get to eat that day or that week. In stark contrast, we may battle many issues that make us feel insecure, but we usually aren’t struggling to get something to eat. The problem with most of us is that although we have food, it might not be the kind of food we like. How many of us don’t have any clothes? Again, we are usually troubled not because we don’t have clothes, but because the ones we have are out of fashion. For most in the western world, food, drink, and clothing aren’t legitimate problems.

Then Jesus adds that all the worrying we do won’t make anything better anyway. In verse 27, he says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Jesus said worrying is a waste of your time. Stop and think about how much more we could focus on God and his kingdom if we weren’t worried about eating in nice restaurants and wearing the latest shoes and purse. Remember, Jesus addressed an audience that actually had to wonder where these things would come from, and yet he still challenged them not to worry. How spiritually effective could our lives be if we were satisfied with what we have?! No angel in heaven is feeling sorry for us because we don’t have a nicer dress or a Starbucks card. Think about what makes you anxious. Is it going on social media, reading magazines, or watching TV? If something you’re doing is triggering anxiety, work to eliminate it. Let’s get the point Jesus makes here, and stop stressing out about the things of this life!