“Therefore I say unto you, 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. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” (Matthew 6:25 KJV)
Do not worry? All too often when considering the idea of “taking no thought” in the sense of not worrying, people tend to toughen up, stiffen the lower lip, and become more determined that they are not going to do whatever they have been told not to do. I am not so sure that actions which reflect a hardening reflect an accurate understanding of this command. To not give something a second thought can easily be misrepresented as either a callousness or a laziness. Our delima is that when we hear “take no thought” we draw the straightest line we can to “take no involvement in”. We think we need not worry because we think we will escape that which causes the worry. Somehow we will remove ourselves (or be removed) from the turmoil of a situation. This is a natural thought process for people who distance themselves from situations that they cannot manage. A school boy told not to worry about an impending fight with the bully concludes that either the bully will not be there or his dad will be there in time to pick him up. Naturally very few want the work of either brushing up on diplomatic skills or discovering a new found reason to take a self defense class.
There are dozens of very real and present needs that we have. We all want to secure them as best that we can and many want to insure that his neighbor has the chance too. In the process of securing your needs for food, shelter, a friend, etc… is Jesus your first stop in making these requests? No one is denying the realness of the need and no one wants to deaden your sense of touch and sensitivity to an otherwise brushed off toughen up lesson. So what does it really mean to “take no thought for your life”? The first big irony is that the quickest way to meet your needs is to take no thought for them. I am not sure how much that helps the first time hearer, but it begins the suggestion of trust. You are a uniquely important and wonderfully made individual that God cares about very much. Even on the days that you do not feel it. In order to best realize this, you must have an understanding that the closer you are to Him, the more you are going to see what He puts in place for you. This is not to be confused with a prosperity doctrine as that is your attempt to manage your provision by how close you think you are. To be able to not worry about the supplies you have or do not have is a direct function of trust bathed in surrender to your provider. In this case (and all others), Jesus.
A very revealing couple of questions to ask yourself would be, does relying on the Lord’s provision make you more or less likely to obey and follow when prompted by His Spirit? Would managing a little more of your sustenance change your ability to obey or would it simply reveal whether obedience was there to begin with or not? These questions can be revealing in the same sense that if much is given much is required (see Luke 12:48). When Jesus provides illustrations of birds and flowers, He is not merely pointing to something smaller than us, but to others who are in the employ of His Father. Similarly David sites God’s work in defeating a lion and a bear as evidence of God’s potential success with the giant. Jesus is reminding us that God has other successful projects that we can reflect on to know that He is worth working for. The tools that we need to accomplish His work are worth asking for and in so doing they will be provided in His timing. The trick is not to separate yourself from the work because it appears unmanageable, but to surrender and get to it. The rewards are always well worth it in the end!
“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 KJV)