Matthew 6:24-34 NRSVue
24“No one can serve two masters, for a slave will either hate the one and love the other or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.,
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your span of life? 28And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the gentiles who seek all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Take these lovely verses in their context: the young Jesus, living in the flowering countryside and relative prosperity of Galilee, is testing the real necessities and true values of life. He enjoys the beauty around him, but sees people so concerned with Mammon (a Semitic word for money or wealth), and worry about tomorrow, that they cannot be in tune with the God who reaches us only in the Now.
Lord, show yourself to me in the present moment; I cannot meet you in the past or the future, only here and now. This moment is a channel of your grace.
One of the best known stories of Jesus leads us into the theme of trust. Only God is worth our total trust, and God is totally faithful to us. Worries about fashions and menus and diets can take us away from being concerned with the things of God. A prayerful walk among flowers while observing the birds of the air brings this story to life. It’s about recognising what’s really important in life. Even though birds and lilies also wither and die, their lifespan can remind us of where true happiness lies.
Is Jesus so innocent, so naïve? It seems he is telling me to look at birds and flowers. Deep down I know that is not what is asking me to do; he is asking me to be wise, to look and to learn, to discern something of the working of God, to be ready to loosen my grip.
Jesus does not just invite me to let my worries and concerns go; he does not want to leave me empty-handed. He offers me a new priority - an eagerness to establish God’s ways, a striving for the kingdom of God.
Many of the phrases in this section of the gospel are well known. The message of Jesus is not to be worried about many things in life. He does not look down on concern for money, clothing and the things we need every day, even telling us to pray for our daily bread. He alerts us to the futility of worry and anxiety which can take our minds and hearts off what is really essential in our lives.