The ancient world had a great deal more unpredictability than ours. In a Western country like the United States, we don’t have to worry about our food supply running out. We produce more than enough. If we needed more, we could import it from another country. Famines did occur in the ancient world with greater frequency. Lack of rain could harm crop production, as could floods. Fishing wasn’t always reliable – fishermen could work all night and have nothing to show for their efforts (Luke 5:5). In this world—where basic needs weren’t always met—Jesus had three things to say about worry.
First, we must see the bigger picture (Matthew 6:25). God gave us life; if we have confidence in his benevolence, shouldn’t we also believe that he will provide us with what’s necessary for our lives? It would be cruel for God to create us, only to abandon us later. Also, Jesus indicates that temporal needs are only a small part of life. We tend to give them much more consideration than they deserve.
Second, we have value (Matthew 6:26). The very fact that God takes care of the little animals that populate our world should be enough to convince us that he cares about us, too. We are much more valuable than other creatures because we are made in his image and have a relationship with him. It stands to reason that if God takes care of the smallest animals, he will care for us also.
Finally, worry accomplishes nothing (Matthew 6:27). It can’t bring in any extra money, give us comfort or consolation, or extend our lives. We might fool ourselves into thinking that worry has value when we play out different scenarios in our minds, believing that this prepares us for possible future events. In reality, it’s wasting our time on things that, in all likelihood, will never happen.
Many of us worry about things beyond our control. We fret over things that may never happen or other things we can’t change. Jesus calls us to see it for what it is: a useless, fruitless attempt to control the unknown when we should know that God loves us and has our best interests at heart.
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