25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 But Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
After reminding us that worry is a waste, that worry doesn’t work, that worry causes us to waver and that worry wipes out our witness, Jesus now gives us two principles that if put into practice will help us win the war on worry. First we need to start with:
- Putting God first
Verse 33 begins with the word “But” revealing the contrast between how many people chose to live and how the Christians are called to live. We are called to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,” seeking here means an intense, single-minded focus. This means making God the goal so that we pursue His plans for life and not what the world tells us will be profitable. It’s in the present imperative revealing that the true antidote to anxiety is to make a daily choice to prioritize God’s kingdom. Instead of making material things the axis on which our lives rotate we’re to make the Master and His kingdom our priority. Now before we continue I need to make it clear that this verse does not teach that having or pursing things is wrong. Scripture is not calling us to spend all of our time or energy only in spiritual pursuits. There is a difference between concern and focus, between our first priority and our responsibility. Jesus says “Seek first,” not let it be the one and only thing you seek. God understands that we need to work and live, He just calls us to center our life on Him and His kingdom as we do it. The real issue becomes who or what is being put first. Because trying to offer God second place is offering Him no place. Now I am going to make a statement that many may not like: most of us are as close to God as we want to be and some are stressed out because they want to be worried. The reason many people are burdened down with worry is because they are seeking everything but God first. Notice the promise that Jesus makes is conditional, if we seek Him first, then all things will be added. If we really want to win against worry, then we have to go after God. Our lives have to revolve around His righteousness not worldly riches. He becomes the center of our universe; so let me ask you, is God your gravitational pull or is it the gold? Is it seeking Him and His kingdom or seeking stuff? This is more than just making God prominent in your life, He must be preeminent. Jesus reveals that there are basically two directions we can focus on and follow in this life. We can pursue and become preoccupied with things as our goal or we can seek first the kingdom and righteousness of God as our goal. Most of us default to giving first priority to self, as a result we go after the material things more than the Master’s things. We end up making self the center of the universe, life ends up revolving around our wants instead of God’s wishes. We end up seeing spiritual things as secondary, so we give them a small sliver of our attention. Like the lost world we go after other things, choosing to place the priority for our energies and efforts into providing for ourselves. We make our primary concern the physical necessities of life instead of God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Notice that our call is composed of two parts, God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. The word kingdom here is that which recognizes and promotes His rule and reign. So to seek first His kingdom is to seek first His rule, His will and His way. Seeking God’s kingdom is losing ourselves in obedience to the Lord. Paul summed it up in his own life by saying this in Acts 20:24, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Seeking first God’s kingdom involves looking for opportunities to pour out and invest our lives into the eternal and not just the earthly. Second we are to seek His righteousness. Righteousness revolves around Christ’s character; it means to have His truth and love manifested in our lives. Just as Romans 14:17 reminds us, “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Instead of looking to and longing after the things of this world, we are to hunger for the things of heaven. Jesus is teaching us that as Christians we are to establish clear priorities in our lives, and that our first priority must be following Him. Instead of being consumed with worry be concerned with His work. Not only are we to put God first but we must:
- Place our future in His hands
Jesus goes on to say in verse 34: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” We are reminded here not to reach into tomorrow and ruin today. Many of us are cooking up trouble in our lives because we are stew about tomorrow. Many people are frozen with fear over what might happen next week or even next year. The truth is today has enough trouble, so we need to stop borrowing bother from tomorrow. If we are not careful we can get so caught up and worried in what might not even happen in the future that we don’t deal with what is happening in the present. There will be plenty of pleasure and pain tomorrow and what we need to do is place ourselves into His hands. Instead of trying to find our hope in what our hands can handle we need to hide in His. Lamentations 3:23 reminds us that God’s mercies “are new every morning.” You can focus on the Almighty or on anxiety? Right now you have a choice, you can live for the spiritual or the secular, you can seek the Messiah or the material, the eternal or the earthly. Do you want to live an anxious life or an awesome one?