EIGHT REASONS FOR NOT WORRYING
A. Last week we said that worldliness is an attitude about life. It is any attitude that excludes the person of Christ. Worldliness in relation to material things can take two forms. First, the most obvious form is selfishly laying up treasures on earth, hoarding them for one’s carnal ends. The Biblical exhortation to those who are rich in this world’s goods is to give their money to the Lord’s work and to share with others in need. The second, and more subtle form of worldliness is to worry about material things when you do not have them.
B. A thinking person would say at this point that if the Lord’s people are not to lay up treasures on earth, and if they cannot serve God and riches at the same time, how are finances to be taken care of? How can they live if they do not take the “dog-eat-dog” view of money that the unbelieving world has? In Matthew 6:25-34, the Lord Jesus gives eight logical reasons why God will supply for His own people and why it is wrong for God’s people to worry or be anxiously concerned about materialistic matters.
II. THE INJUNCTION NOT TO WORRY -- 6:25a:
“Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” -- The words “take no thought: should be translated “Be not anxious” or “Have no anxiety: or in our modern thinking, “Do not worry.” Worry about material things is sin, for God has promised to meet the needs of His people (Phil. 4:19). Furthermore worry is futile and useless for it never solved any problem at all. Christians are to take their concerns about material things to God and leave them there for God to handle (Phil. 4:6, 7).
NOTE: “Take not thought” does not mean that we must never think about material things or contemplate the future. Nor does this mean the Lord is advocating a shiftless, reckless, and thoughtless outlook on life. God’s people are to be prudent and have foresight. It is not foresight that is spoken against but foreboding about the future. The Lord is not condemning foresight; He is condemning a worrying foresight as though it were our responsibility to provide and not His. We are to prepare for that which may come, but we are not to have constant occupation of the mind and distraction of heart over what may never come. What the Lord is forbidding is fretting concern, or a worried fear about the future.
III. THE LOGIC OF CREATION -- 6:25b:
“Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? -- The first line of reasoning is the logic of creation. This is an argument from the greater to the less. Since God gave us life, certainly He can provide us with food. Since He has done the greater act of creating our bodies, surely he can to a lesser act of clothing them! The Giver of the gift of life will see that the sustenance and support of that life will be provided If our Heavenly Father has given us the precious gift of life, then He will not be niggardly and stingy in providing smaller gifts for us.
IV. THE LOGIC OF THE ANIMAL WORLD -- 6:26:
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” -- The second reason for not worrying is the example of the animal world, and, in particular the bird world. This is an argument from the less to the greater in which the Lord is stressing the superiority of man to birds. Birds have no way of storing food but God provides providentially for them, even in the winter months. God takes care of the little birds and looks after them. He sees to it that their life is sustained. Since God does this for the birds, will He not do much more for men who are made in the image of God? Doesn’t God love His own more than animals?
NOTE: This verse does not teach that Christians can be lazy and sit around and expect bread to arrive miraculously. Birds do not perch themselves on a tree and get their food mechanically from God. No, they search for it diligently. Even so, man must work, trusting God to provide for his needs.
NOTE: If God can provide for birds in the hard winter months, then He can provide for you in sickness and in old age.
ILLUSTRATION: A Rabbi said it this way, “In my life I have never seen a stag as a dryer of figs or a lion as a porter, or a fox as a merchant, yet they are all nourished without worry. If they, who are created to serve me, are nourished without worry, how much more ought I, who am created to serve my Maker be nourished without worry?”
V. THE LOGIC OF THE INABILITY OF MAN TO EXTEND LIFE -- 6:27:
“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature (age)?” -- The word “stature” should be translated age and a cubit was about 18” long. The Lord is saying, “Who by worrying can add a little time to his life?” It is futile to worry about the length of one’s life, for no one can add one minute to it. Every man’s life is planned and God has an appointed hour for his death. God will provide for His own until that moment of death.
VI. THE LOGIC OF VEGETATION -- 6:28-30
A. “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” -- These are flowers of the field; wild lilies, probably a scarlet colored poppy, that grew at random on the hillsides. These flowers sprung up quickly and lived only a short while. God took care of these flowers and they were clothed in more beauty than all the glory of King Solomon. One flower’s glory is greater than all the glory of wealthy Solomon. If God is interested in a lone flower on the hillside, how much more will He care for His own children? Infinitely more!
B. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you,” -- The grass and the flowers of the field dried up and these were used for fuel in the bread ovens of Jewish homes. These forms of vegetation are transient and passing. They come and go and that is the end of them. Yet, this cannot be said of man. Man is a creature both of time and eternity, for man is made to have eternal existence beyond the grave. Every man will live forever but where he spends eternity will depend on his personal relationship with Christ in time. The point that since man is immortal, God will take care of him in time, for God cares for His own.
C. “O ye of little faith?” -- The Lord does not admonish his disciples for no faith but for little faith. It is not the absence of faith that concerns our Lord but it is their inadequacy of faith; they do not have sufficient faith.
NOTE: Our Lord is warning against Christians who have saving faith and stop at that, having no great desire to push deeper into a faith-relationship with their Lord. Without daily sanctifying faith, Christians will be defeated and more prone to worry. God is waiting to bless any Christian who chooses to step out in faith and do God’s will. Faith trust the God who controls circumstances. The person who walks by faith masters the circumstances and does not let the circumstances master him. He believes God can overrule circumstances.
VII. THE LOGIC OF PAGAN PRACTICES -- 6:31-32:
“Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek”: -- The word “Gentiles” was a Jewish way of describing people who were without God. The closest synonym we have today is heathen. Godless ones, those who do not know God, are ones who constantly worry. Because they are not is possible to be a Christian, because one has trusted in Christ, but have an apparent heathen philosophy, because one is living like there is no God. Every time we worry, we are saying that God does not exist.
NOTE: The Christian’s whole approach to life must be different than that of the unbeliever. A Christian is trusting in his sovereign and loving heavenly Father to meet his needs.
VIII. THE LOGIC OF FAMILY TIES -- 6:32:
“For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” -- Since God is our Father, surely He will provide for His own.
IX. THE LOGIC OF PRIORITY -- 6:33:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
A. It is perfectly logical that if the Christian puts God first, then God will be pleased and He will meet the believer’s material needs. (II Chron. 16:9: “Them that honor me I will honor”).
B. This involves spreading the news of the kingdom of God to all men that they might believe in Jesus Christ and be saved from eternal punishment. It also involves constantly seeking more of God’s righteousness in our lives; it involves positively seeking practical holiness and righteousness in our daily experience.
NOTE: Reaching men for Christ and living godly lives must be first in our lives and then God will bless us with physical needs.
X. THE LOGIC OF DAILY SUFFICIENCY -- 6:34:
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” -- The final argument is that of the burden of a day. In itself a day’s burden is heavy enough. Why compound and double the burden by worrying about tomorrow? If I add the worry of tomorrow to today’s burden, I am doubling my load for today. The evil itself is sufficient for that day in which it occurs.
NOTE: Worldly wisdom says, “Don’t cross bridges until you get to them.” Christ says, “You can make preparation to cross the bridge, but do not worry about it or be too disappointed it does not work out.”
POINT: There may be greater sins than worry, but few are more disabling. Worry occupies the mind so that one cannot be useful in areas he should be occupied. Worry prevents joy and happiness. It above all is useless and accomplishes nothing.
ILLUSTRATION: This thing of taking no thought for the morrow has become a reality to me in recent weeks. As you know, ministers, rabbis and priests may be exempted from taking social security if their conscience or religious beliefs are against it. Social Security has become a way of life for most people, and men more and more depend upon government to take care of them. Social Security has a way of keeping men from trusting in God. After much struggle, I elected not to take it on the grounds that I do not think the government should force social security if men do not want it, and that it is good to trust in God in one’s old age. The most insecure thoughts ran through my mind, “How will I be supported when I am too old to work: What if something happens to me? At least my wife and children will receive something.” Worry, Worry, Worry! Finally I took out Matthew 6:34 and claimed this promise and the peace filled my heart. If I am around in 30 years, I know that my God will supply for my needs, even in my old age. How do I know? He promised to do it.
A. SAVED: If a Christian will seek God, He will meet their needs (Psa. 37:25 - those who are living godly lives shall not beg bread). This is a promise.
B. UNSAVED: For those here without Christ, you are probably saying, “How can that teaching of God’s care be true. With all the need and poverty that exists in the world, with all the suffering of homeless and displaced men, women and children, how can you make such a bold statement about God’s care?” The answer is that these promises are only to Christians and not to rejecters of Christ. If you are here this morning without Christ, you will never be able to claim the wonderful promises of God’s provision for material things until you have received Christ into your life as personal Lord and Saviour. A Christian need not worry about provision in time or eternity, but every person without Christ should be in much anxiety, for a Christless eternity waits him, where there is outer/darkness and gnashing of teeth. Remember, if Christ is not your Saviour than He will be your Judge.