This was written weeks ago, but today the question certainly hits home, doesn’t it? The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been on our minds. May you be especially blessed today. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.¹
Peace, dear readers…
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 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? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34 NRSV)
This question HAD to be included in our Lenten reflections! How many times does Jesus tell us not to be anxious, not to worry, not to fear? Certainly this was one of his important and often repeated instructions. Jesus knows that we struggle with this one.
We have been given this very precious life, and Jesus came to give us an abundant life of loving and joyful service to God and one another. “Abundant” means well-supplied, plentiful, and bountiful- a life of meaning, purpose, and significance. Each moment that we spend worrying instead of abundantly living will not add one hour to our lives. Each moment of worry will only subtract– giving us one less moment to freely live in joy and love.
Jesus first instructs us to look to the birds as vivid examples of the way he wants us to live. Birds do not plant, harvest, or store crops; they must rely on God’s provision. We are the ones to plant, harvest, work and save. But are we doing so with an attitude of scarcity and fear, or a spirit of generosity and joy? Do we choose to worry and hoard instead of trusting in God’s provision to meet our daily needs?
Life gives us plenty of trials and challenges, and birds are not exempt from these. Winds buffet. Storms pummel. Predators come. Nests are destroyed. Eggs are taken. And yet, we see new life flourish. The birds carry on as fitting examples of living in the kingdom of God. The birds rebuild their nests, lay more eggs, sing out their fresh birdsong, and soar freely in the heavens.
Jesus ends his admonition with the sentence, “Today’s troubles are enough for today.” His words do not sound very uplifting, do they? I wish he would have said, “Tomorrow will be a better day!” Yet, Jesus is so very wise. We do not know what tomorrow will bring.
But if we are able to remain in God for this present moment- without worrying about the next one- we will sense the love that is surrounding us, holding us, right now. Seeking the kingdom of God first gives us a new perspective for the rest of our lives. Jesus came to lead us to an abundant earthly life, and to reveal the promise of a glorious eternal life as well. We are so very loved.
At this very moment, we are being graciously provided with all that we need. At this very moment, whether we are coping, enduring, abiding, struggling, grieving, wondering, appreciating or rejoicing, God is here with us, helping us and holding us. May you feel God’s love enveloping you… this day and always.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
Do you have any worries in your soul today? How might you surrender them? In what ways does Jesus’ example of the birds bring you understanding and reassurance? What distracts you from fully seeking the kingdom of God? Are you being moved to live more freely and abundantly? How might you grow in joyful, trusting, generosity? Are you able to sense God’s loving presence in your daily moments?
Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?