Luke 12:22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Just preceding this section on worry, Jesus had been commenting on the people’s desire for material goods. He presented them with the parable of the man who had so much that he was tearing down his barns to build bigger barns. He needed more space to store his stuff and yet, he didn’t keep the eternal in mind. His life ended before he could finish the project. Matthew Henry says, “If we value the beauty of holiness, we shall not crave the luxuries of life.” The whole message here from Jesus is about priorities. When we worry about having more things, we will not be about kingdom business. It’s time to abandon the anxiety and keep the focus on the kingdom. In doing so, God will take care of our material needs (not our wants).
I think that Jesus knew there would be people like me in the world who like to think through situations to the very end. However, in doing so, I tend to think about every little detail that can go wrong, and that gives me lots of things to be anxious about. Jesus is telling us that this is not the way in which we are to live our lives. We are to keep our focus on doing kingdom business and become so engaged in kingdom work that we will not worry about our worldly needs. This is not about excess, but about having our needs met.
It’s easy to say that we are to abandon our anxiety, but what does anxiety say to us about our trust in the Lord? The more that we are anxious, the less we are trusting in, and focusing on the kingdom. Anxiety becomes a great distractor from those things which are really important in life. Jesus speaks to the absurdity of worry because the actual act of worry will do nothing to change our lives for the better. The reality is that worry can only affect our lives in the negative. We can become consumed with fear and paralyzed from participating in life.
Abandoning anxiety means embracing Jesus. When fear begins to well up inside of us, we should run full-force into the arms of our Lord. Abandon the anxiety and embrace the Savior. The Father really does know what we need and the promises are true. Let’s seek first the kingdom.
Lord, thank you for your promises. May I live into faith and trust in you. Amen.