I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus words in Matthew lately. Specifically I have been thinking on what he says about anxiety and worrying over personal provision in chapter six. It’s an interesting passage. At first glance it would seem as though Jesus is saying not to worry about the future. One could mistakenly assume God is saying not to plan ahead, or be responsible about the future. That interpretation would be wrong.
This is a passage dealing with priorities. God is telling us not to worry over the worldly issues. He is telling us not to worry about the basic provisions. Now leaving our interpretation with that alone would not be enough. It would even be irresponsible to assume that is the main point of this lesson. If you leave chapter six with the belief that you can sit back, and let God take care of everything, then you are in for a disappointing and potentially very short life. God is saying there is no need to worry if you are doing what you are supposed to do.
Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. It’s all about the priorities. God is saying we need to be willing to follow him even if it appears that the basic necessities of life will be hard to come by. Look at his disciples. Following Christ after his death and resurrection meant a real danger. It meant relying on those who believed what you believed. Guys like Paul would travel to share the gospel not knowing where the next meal would come from. God’s not asking us to be foolish in our planning. He is not telling us to be irresponsible in our thoughts of the future. He is telling us what is the most important thing to focus on. He is telling us we have no need to worry when we follow Him.
When I first wrestled over the decision to go into ministry I was hesitant. I felt this calling form God, but I seemed so uncertain about how it would all work out. How will I get the skills I need? How will I make the money I need? What if He calls me somewhere far away? How will I be provided for? I was asking myself all of these question at a conference I attended every year. At the end of this conference was the altar call for those wishing to accept Christ or rededicate their lives to Him. This year the speaker did something different though. He made an addition. All who who felt the call to ministry were invited to surrender their lives to that call. He talked about all these questions and concerns I had. He said surrendering tonight meant you give all your worries about provisions and the hows to God.
What God is calling for in Matthew six is something far harder than being anxious about earthly provisions. What God is calling for is sacrifice. He is calling us to set aside all the expectations we have in life. He is telling us to stop worrying about what we think we need, and start depending on Him to provide us with what He knows we need. God is going revolutionary on this passage. He is going against what the world says. The world tells us to worry about the spiritual stuff later. Focus on wealth, provision, and comfort now. God is telling us something radically different. Focus on the spiritual stuff now, because this is the only shot you have. Let me worry about that other stuff.
We are not being called to a life of irresponsibility. We are being called to quite the opposite. We are being called to take ownership. We are being called to follow on God’s lead. We are being called to a life of the utmost responsibility. It is a call to seek true riches. What are being called to be treasure hunters. We are called to seek Him for all of our days. Seek God and cultivate your relationship with him. Make him your first priority, and you will find the others necessities along the way.
Sometimes that means going down a road you fear will keep you from having the provisions you need. Sometimes that means going on a path that will throw you out of your comfort zone. God doesn’t want us to worry about the earthly needs because those worries often keep us from following our main need. It’s not a passage telling us to take it easy, and let God give us everything we want. It’s a passage that calls us to sacrifice who we are for something bigger than we could ever possibly be.