As we look at the many and varied forms of life around us, there is much we can learn. The Lord Jesus told His listeners to “behold” the birds – meaning to consider them carefully. There is a simple yet highly significant lesson they can teach us. Listen The people listening to Jesus were concerned with material things, just as we are today. Consumables such as food and drink, and questions about clothing occupied their thoughts. Take a walk down the nearest street in the shopping district and you will see that things haven’t changed! Shops and retail outlets display an abundance of food, drink, clothing, footwear and fashion items. Indeed, the choice is far greater now than it was when Jesus was on earth. Our lives, even more than theirs, can be taken up with daily questions about what to eat, drink or wear (Mt. 6:25).
With this in mind, the Lord Jesus told His audience to consider the birds. They do not engage in agriculture; they are unable to sow seed, reap a harvest, or store away the produce of the field. They do not possess our foresight, for their perspective is limited. They simply gather their food as they need it – and this is their procedure day by day. Jesus said, “Your Heavenly Father feedeth them” (Mt. 6:26). Interestingly, He did not refer to God as their Heavenly Father but as yours, for it is only human beings who can know God as Heavenly Father. Thus, if He provides for their needs, surely He will supply ours as well.
When He said, “Take no thought for your life” (Mt. 6:25) Jesus was not encouraging irresponsibility, for this would contradict other Scriptures. Rather, He was stressing the need to trust in God and not to be preoccupied with material things. Although we must take thought for our lives, it must not be anxious thought. We cannot add one cubit to our height, nor can we guarantee an increased life span (Mt. 6:27). In fact, anxiety will inevitably do our lives more harm than good.
The great need is to get our priorities right. The life we have is more important than the food we eat (Mt. 6:25) – though healthy eating is not unimportant! Without being foolish or irresponsible, we must accept this rebuke from our Savior and take seriously His prohibition to “take no (anxious) thought for your life” (Mt. 6:25). Abraham said to Isaac, “God will provide” (Gen. 22:8). God did it then, and He will do it now.
By Martin Girard
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org