Summary: Sermon 14 in a study in the Sermon on the Mount
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Since this is part 2 of a sermon called “Treasures”, I will just jump in where we left off. Depending on your translation, verse 25 starts with “For this reason” or “Therefore” or “Because of this” or something along those lines.
So there is no denying that Jesus is continuing a thought here and since verse 24 says “…you cannot serve God and wealth”, His next phrase, “For this reason” ties the inappropriate desire for wealth and trusting in riches to what comes next, which is worrying about going without.
In short, we can be serving wealth in our heart as much by the wanting of it as in the having of it.
So this is truly the second half of a discourse on worldliness versus Godliness; anxiety versus faith. The first part warns those who are rich and the second part warns those who think they do not have enough.
In both cases though, the focus is on the realigning of our priorities.
There are two phrases in this section that jump out at me as very important for us to consider carefully. One is in verse 30.
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!”
Now I’m jumping right down to verse 30 because on the surface we can understand His illustration of the Father’s care of the birds of the air and we understand what He means when talking about the perfect beauty of the flowers of the field, and we clearly see that He is using these things to demonstrate that anxiety over what we will wear or how we will eat is useless and unnecessary.
But when Jesus says, “You of little faith” that gives a whole new dimension to what He has been saying! With this phrase He has taken it from the realm of the psychological into the spiritual.
This worrying about our daily needs is not just an exaggerated concern for the mundane. To God it has more serious implications for His children because it says something about our faith. So let’s spend some time looking at why Jesus chose to insert that phrase where He did.
First of all, be reminded that this entire sermon is directed at the believer. He began by describing the Christian and every thing He has said after that has to do with the Christian’s relationship to the world, to one another and to God.
So it is significant that He didn’t say “You of no faith”. He is at least attributing to the hearer, some faith. He is not talking to the unbeliever. In fact you will see in a little bit that He refers to the unbelievers as a contrast, but He is speaking to believers in doing that.
Our next logical step, then, is to ask, if Jesus is talking to believers and calls them ‘you of little faith’, then what is little faith?
In researching the word that is translated ‘little’ I found that Jesus used this particular word four times in Matthew’s gospel. It is used once more in Luke 12:28 which is the twin of verse 30 here in our text.