A Study of Matthew 6:25-34
Three plagues are ravaging America: Fear, worry, and anxiety. Studies show that many children are riddled with worry because the supporting structures of their lives have collapsed. Teenagers are worried too. Psychologists warn of a mental health crisis among adolescents in the U.S. We all have a heavy load of concerns on our hearts, but we have tremendous help in Matthew 6. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave His most definitive teaching on the topic of worry. In Matthew 6:25-34, we have seven reasons why Jesus didn’t worry and neither should you.
Reason #1 – Matthew 6:25
The first principle is in Matthew 6:25: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… Let the power of those words sink into your mind: Do not worry about your life. Imagine building a house and engraving those words on every door lintel. Every time we go from room to room or out of your home into the world, that attitude should protect your heart. Those words are:
- All-inclusive. They covers every area of life; they covers everything. They are as expansive and vast as the universe. They encompass everything in every day.
- Based on Jesus being the Master of our lives. We can’t just pretend verse 25 is floating in the air. It’s connected to verse 24. Jesus said we cannot serve two masters. We have to serve God. We have to serve Him first and foremost. Jesus Christ must be the Lord and Master of our lives. If you have any other Master in your life, the Lord’s teachings about worry are inoperative for you. You should worry about your life. You should worry about everything. But if He is the Master—or as He puts it at the end of the passage—if your first priority is the kingdom of God and His righteousness—then these words are totally yours.
- A Command. You shall not worry about your life. The same God who said, “You shall not commit murder” and “You shall not steal” also said, “You shall not worry about your life.”
Now, having made a very broad statement, Jesus is going to tell us that includes our concerns for the basic necessities of life—what we eat and drink and wear. Jesus is speaking to the impoverished people of Galilee. And He is speaking to twelve disciples who have just left their livelihood and their incomes to follow Him. So He made a specific application of this passage. Those disciples had left everything to follow the Rabbi from Nazareth. They had left their nets and tax booths and incomes. Perhaps their children and wives and parents were saying, “What are we going to eat? What are we going to wear?” Jesus said, Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your lives, what you will eat, or about your bodies what you will drink. And now He comes to our first great principle: Look at it in verse 25: Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
How would you paraphrase this? Here’s the principle: Life is More Than the Things We Worry About.
It’s more than the material things around us. It’s more than the visible and the temporary and the fleeting.
The first approach to overcoming worry and anxiety is to realize that life – our abundant life in Jesus Christ – is much more than the accumulation of the things we worry about. Sometimes we become so preoccupied with our worries that we can’t see anything else. They’re like a balloon that inflates inside our brains until it squeezes out every other thought. But keep this thought foremost: Life in Christ is far more than your worries. Most of life is filled with blessings. And even our burdens are allowed by the Lord to produce us in the quality of perseverance and will eventually work out for good. Life is more than things that we worry about.
Reason #2 – Matthew 6:26
Jesus gave another reason to abandon worry: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
There is a hierarchy in Creation: God, angels, humans, animals (“the birds of the air”), plants (“the grass of the field”). Jesus was saying, “If your heavenly Father takes care of the order of creation lower than, don’t you think He will take care of you?”
About ten years ago, two scientists decided to try to do the impossible—calculate the number of birds in the world—the total bird population on planet earth. Using available data and mathematical algorithms, they concluded there are approximately 400 billion birds. That means there are about 60 birds for every person. God created 60 birds to sing for you every morning. You have a choir of 60 birds to sing to you from the trees and shrubs and clouds, reminding you of the Father’s care. They’re a vital part of God’s creation—and He cares for each one of them. From the mighty eagle to the tiny sparrows, from the aggressive bluebirds and mockingbirds to the cooing dove, from the ridiculous Ostridge to the wise old owl—the Lord God made them all, and there is a sermon in every song.
Every day we have the skies filled with 400 billion little masterpieces of creation, flapping and soaring and flying through the clouds, and singing a message that God cares of His creation. We should worry less than we do because if His eye is on the sparrow, we know He cares for us.
Do you see the principle here? You Are More Valuable to God than All the Rest of His Physical Creation.
Reason #3 – Matthew 6:27
At this point Jesus inserted a rhetorical question: Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? The answer is “No.” Anxiety, fear, and worry have a very debilitating effect on our bodies. They cause our brains to release stress hormones, which, if sustained, can cause all kinds of problems for us—blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, and a dozen more. There have been a few times in life when I was so worried, I thought I might die on the spot. And some people do. Intense worry can bring on a stroke or a heart attack. Worry can shorten your life, but here is the point Jesus was making. The 3rd Reason Jesus didn’t worry: Worry Does Not Extend Your Life by Even One Hour.
Reason #4 – Matthew 6:28-30
The Lord continued: And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow? They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
If there are 400 billion birds, I can’t imagine how many flowers and buds and blossoms there are, but each one is showing us that our God is an artist, a seamstress, a designer, a clothier. He garbs His creation with colors and textures and with beauty indescribable. Now notice these words: If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you—O you of little faith.
Now, Jesus didn’t need to add that last phrase, but it’s important. It’s the next principle. What is worry? Worry is discounting God’s promises and doubting His goodness. If fact, Worry questions everything about God’s attributes.
Theologians use the word “attributes” to describe the qualities or characteristics of God. A spirit of worry discounts all His attributes.
- It discounts His omniscience, because it wonders if God really knows what’s going on.
- It discounts His wisdom, because it questions whether He knows how to handle things.
- It discounts His omnipresence, because it questions whether He is near.
- It discounts His power, because it wonders if God has the ability to manage the crisis.
- It discounts His faithfulness, because it doubts whether He will keep His promises.
- It discounts His love, because it makes us think He isn’t working for our good.
- It discounts His justice, because it wonders whether God will do the right thing.
The fourth reason Jesus didn’t worry: Worry Questions All God’s Attributes.
Reason #5 – Matthew 6:31-32
Jesus went on to say: So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
According to Christ, there are two groups of people in the world—His followers and pagans. You might not like it if someone called you a pagan, but that was the word Jesus used to describe those who were not His. They have nothing to live for except food and drink and clothes and pleasure and the things of this life. They run after those things. Their lives revolve around the material aspects of life. And what happens when we worry? Instead of seeking to win the pagans to Jesus, we began thinking like the pagans. We adopt their worries, their mindset, and their insecurities.
The 5th Reason Jesus didn’t worry and neither should you: Worry Gives Us the Same Mindset as Unbelievers.
Reason #6 – Matthew 6:33
What should we do instead? Instead of running after all the material things of life, we should seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. Verse 33 says: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The 6th Reason Jesus didn’t worry: If You Take Care of the Things That Are Important to God, He Will Take Care of the Things that are Important to You.
Reason #7 – Matthew 6:34
The Lord finished this paragraph saying, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is so obvious as to be self-explanatory. We live in day-tight units. We aren’t in yesterday anymore, and we’re not yet in the future. So we just deal with today. When Katrina and I learned she had a debilitating disease, we decided we wouldn’t inquire too much about the long-term prognosis. We certainly wanted the best help for her and the best doctors. But we decided we’d just take it one day at a time, and that philosophy has served us well for 25 years. The seventh reason Jesus didn’t worry: If We Trust God for Just Today, Tomorrow Will Take Care of Itself.
Conclusion: What are you most worried about today? What’s bothering you? What’s on your mind? What’s nagging at you?Suppose God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were to come down and stand all around you. What would they say?
In Psalm 37, God the Father says: “Do not fret!”
In Matthew 6, God the Son says: “Do not worry about your life.”
And in Philippians 4, the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
That’s the message from the Triune God:
Do not fret.
Do not be anxious about anything.
Do not worry about your life.
And that’s why Jesus didn’t worry—and neither should you.