DayBreaks for 11/19/18: On Flowers and Birds
From the DayBreaks archive, November 2008:
Perhaps life wasn’t all that different in Jesus’ day. Of course, I know that then they didn’t have planes, trains and automobiles, nor x-rays or space shuttles or many of the things which are part of the modern world. But those things aren’t life and they shouldn’t be confused with it. Life is about getting up and facing each day and doing the best you can – and about all the millions of things that happen each day emotionally, spiritually and physically. That’s what I mean when I say I don’t think life was that different in Jesus’ day.
There’s been a world (literally) of worry lately. Global economic collapse, wars, famines, diseases, natural disasters, fires, people fretting over the future because of the recent election – yep, there’s plenty of worry. Many of my friends and congregants are retirees who had their retirement funds socked away in stocks and bonds, IRA’s and 401K’s. Now, the retirement that they’d longed for and hoped for is either gone or mostly gone. It’s enough to make anyone worry about the future.
It seems that there was plenty of worry to go around in Jesus’ day, too. And believe it or not, they worried about the same things we do. Just listen to these words from the sermon on the mount (Mt. 6:25-33, NIV): Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies 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, O you of little faith? 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. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
You see? They were worried about life, drink, food, clothing – the stuff of everyday life for all of humanity since the beginning of time. Jesus’ prescription is simple, but not what you might expect. He doesn’t say, “You should have put your money in temple bonds and stocks. Take what you’ve got left and move it into temple securities.” Instead, he says: “Go spend some time looking at and thinking about birds and flowers. See what that tells you about God and life.” He tells us that we don’t need to worry (it’s more like a command, “So do not worry…”) because the pagans run after the “stuff” that daily life demands….and our FATHER knows that we need those things, too. And being the kind of Father that He is, He won’t fail us. But there is a requirement: seeking His kingdom and righteousness first – and then all those other things will be given to us.
Are you fearful of a job loss/termination? Wondering if you’ll ever be able to recover your funds in time to retire as you’d hoped? Worried if your house will ever be worth more on it again than you currently owe? Are you worrying about ANYTHING?
If so, stop. If you can, go outside right now and look at some flowers or birds (if you live in the frozen tundra somewhere, look at the trees instead of flowers!) Look good, look hard, and look long. All of those plants and birds are sustained by the Father’s hand. And you are of much greater worth, and are far more precious to Him, than all the trees of the field.
PRAYER: Teach us how to stop worrying, Lord. Help us to trust our Father for all things needed for real life and true life, and keep us from confusing “stuff” such as possessions and retirement accounts for life itself. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>