Prayer for the day
Our help is in the Name of the Lord; the maker of heaven and earth.
Scripture for the day
How can Jesus tell his people that they are not to worry about anything? Not even about their own lives? It seems a cruel command, designed to make us feel guilty and inadequate, destined to make us fail.
How would Abraham have heard Jesus’ command? God spoke to the new father, still giddy with the promise of God having been fulfilled, and commanded him to kill that promise. God had finally delivered on his word, and now was asking Abraham to put his trust in God, that God would somehow keep his word again. His only son. Who would have the heart to tell Abraham not to worry?
Yet Jesus’ command seems clear. Do not worry about your life.
There was only one thing that held Abraham together through his ordeal: he knew his God. Most books focus on the evil God asked Abraham to do, and rightly so, but today, think of the faith God required of Abraham. Think of the trust Abraham had in his God. He trusted that God would do what God said God would do, regardless of what was going on around him, regardless of the seeming impossibility of aid or redemption.
Jesus’ command seems harsh and impossible, until it’s followed up with one of the most marvellous passages you can find in the scripture: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
God is not saying that anyone who seeks the kingdom of God (that is, God’s rule in our lives and in the world) will get everything he wants. Jesus is saying that God will care for those who make his kingdom the first priority exactly as they need to be cared for. Abraham sought to be obedient above all, and God provided for him. The First Testament of scripture is rife with examples of the provision of God. The Second Testament is full of the same kind of stories.
Life isn’t always easy, and we don’t get any promises it will be. We have one promise we can stand on, though, in the midst of the impossibility of life: worrying won’t get us anywhere. Seeking the kingdom of God is the only thing of value, and when that is our priority, everything else either falls into place or fades into the distance.
Tom Wright translates it this way:
“So don’t worry away with your ‘What’ll we eat?’ and ‘What’ll we drink?’ and ‘What’ll we wear?’ Those are all the kinds of things the Gentiles fuss about, and your heavenly father knows you need them all. Instead, make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life, and all these things will be given to you as well.”