‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
nor about your body, what you will put on.’
For those who live paycheck to paycheck — or who would love to HAVE a paycheck!—these remain anxiety-riven economic times. After all it is exceedingly difficult NOT to be anxious about what you will eat (or what you will feed your kids) when you are not sure IF you will have anything to eat, (or to ‘put on’ or the wherewithal to keep a roof over your head).
It is very difficult not to be anxious in those kind of circumstances.
Jesus gets that, he understands that, but he also knows how useless anxiety is!
‘And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?’
It’s a good question- a great question for those of us prone to anxiety. Anxiety may be a natural human response to extreme circumstances, but it is utterly unhelpful and ultimately destructive. It will eventually ‘eat us up’.
So, what is the alternative?
Trust in the goodness and the power and the purpose of the ‘King’ (The Creator and Redeemer of all), and our seeking after his Kingdom (that assured vision of the ‘New Heavens and New Earth’ where God’s will ‘will be done on earth as it is in heaven’).
IF we trust that ‘our heavenly Father knows that we need all these things’ AND – in the midst of the trying circumstances – ‘seek first the kingdom of God’,
THEN the promise is ‘all these things will be added to you.’
I am struck by the correspondence of this teaching with the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer:
It begins with TRUST – ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’
It continues with SEEKING – ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’
It then arrives at PETITION – ‘Give us this day our daily bread….’
The first petition is for provision (We truly NEED these things; they are not incidental nor unimportant).
But the ‘petition’ follows and flows from the ‘trust’ and the ‘seeking’.
It is absolutely vital in times of anxiety that the Christian community not only ‘prays’ the Lord’s prayer, but ‘lives’ it! That the Christian community refuses to give in to anxiety, and instead, purposefully and intentionally shapes its life according to the pattern of Jesus’ prayer: To trust in the goodness of God, to align ourselves with the purposes of God, and then to petition confidently for the provision of God.‘