Summary: Half our miseries are caused by fancying things that we think are coming upon us: half the things that we expect to come upon us never come at all. Where is our faith? “Do not be worried about tomorrow” that is the commandment of Christ, and it is the way
Opening illustration: A seminar leader wanted to make an important point, so he took a wide mouth jar and filled it with rocks. “Is the jar full?” he asked. “Yes,” came a reply. “Oh, really?” he said. Then poured smaller pebbles into the jar to fill the spaces between the rocks. “Is it full now?” “Yes,” said someone else. “Oh, really?” He then filled the remaining spaces between the rocks and stones with sand. “Is it full now?” he asked. “Probably not,” said another, to the amusement of the audience. He then took a pitcher of water and poured it into the jar.
“What’s the lessen we learn from this?” he asked. An eager participant spoke up, “No matter how full the jar is, there is always room for more.” “Not quite,” said the leader. “The lesson is: to get everything in the jar, you must always put the big things in first.”
Jesus proclaimed a similar principle in the sermon on the Mount. He knew that we waste our time worrying about the little things that seem so urgent but crowd out the big things of eternal value. “Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things,” Jesus reminded His hearers. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
What are you putting first in your life? Let us turn to Matthew 6: 25 – 34 to get some answers.
Introduction: Materialism is more a matter of attitude than of affluence; many of us who consider ourselves to be a part of the middle class are more susceptible to this ailment than the rich. We may suppose that materialism is an undue desire for luxuries, but our Lord identifies it with undue concern over necessities, such as food and clothing. As such we are all materialists.
Since materialism (and its offspring, worry) are such a debilitating force in men’s lives, our Lord has ranked it among the leading failures in our faith. Here we will touch a nerve which is very sensitive to the probing of the Word of God. It is the Scriptures which penetrate beyond the outer facade of our spirituality to expose the motivations of the heart:
In all this passage there is a treasury of golden lessons. Let us seek to use them in our daily life: let us not only read them, but turn them to practical account; let us watch and pray against an anxious and over-careful spirit. It deeply concerns our happiness to do so. Half our miseries are caused by fancying things that we think are coming upon us: half the things that we expect to come upon us never come at all. Where is our faith? Where is our confidence in our Savior’s words? We may well take shame to ourselves, when we read these verses, and then look into our hearts. We may be sure that David’s words are true: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
What are you putting first in your life?
1. Worry ~ that is missing the point in life (v. 25):
Background check on worry – (6:25) μὴ μεριμνᾶτε - merimnao – “I divide or separate” Matthew 6:25, 27, 28, 31, 34. Anxious, divided, distracted. KJV, NASB: anxious.
Jesus begins by pointing out that God gave us life, and, if He gave us life, surely we can trust Him for the lesser things. If God gave us life, surely we can trust Him to give us food to sustain that life. If God gives us bodies, surely we can trust Him for raiment to clothe these bodies. If anyone gives us a gift which is beyond price, surely we can be certain that such a giver will not be mean, stingy, niggardly, careless and forgetful about much less costly gifts. So, the first argument is that, if God gave us life, we can trust Him for the things which are necessary to support life.
Prudent care is never forbidden by our Lord, but only that anxious distracting solicitude, which, by dividing the mind, and drawing it different ways, renders it utterly incapable of attending to any solemn or important concern. To be anxiously careful concerning the means of subsistence is to lose all satisfaction and comfort in the things which God gives, and to act as a mere infidel. On the other hand, to rely so much upon providence as not to use the very powers and faculties with which the Divine Being has endowed us, is to tempt God. If we labor without placing our confidence in our labor, but expect all from the blessing of God, we obey his will, co-operate with his providence, set the springs of it a-going on our behalf, and thus imitate Christ and his followers by a sedate care and an industrious confidence.