Summary: Jesus tells us not to worry. However, in today's world, life seems a little more complicated than in Jesus days, and most of us don't worry about food and clothing. So, what did fully have in mind when He tells us “not worry about what we will eat or wear?
The other day, when I was out on my walk and I noticed the birds, all different kinds of birds, chirping, eating stuff off the grass, and doing what birds do. Then it came to mind; though the world is in a global pandemic, and having social uprisings, it’s not effecting the birds. I thought jokingly to myself, did someone forget to tell the birds about Covid-19, and how the pandemic has led to schools, businesses, restaurants and Churches being closed. How people have to stay 6 feet apart. How social unrest has the nation in grips. Immediately, it popped into my mind what Jesus said about the birds… 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Matt. 6:25-34 (KJV)
"25Therefore 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? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
If you are reading the NIV or some other translation, you will see the word “worry” instead of the phrase “take no thought”. Although, the word worry - does not appear anywhere in the original text of the Bible, Hebrew or Greek, Old or New Testaments. Yet, it is a word which most appropriately conveys what Jesus means when He says take no thought.
The word worry, is a modern English word, which originated around the 1600’s, which meant to annoy, bother or vex. And, in the 1800’s the meaning for worry adopted in its definition "to cause mental distress or trouble". By mid-1800’s “the sense of feeling anxiety or mental trouble" was added to the definition of worry. Today’s definition of worry defines worry as "mental distress or agitation, anxiety resulting from concern, usually for something impending or anticipated”.
So the word “worry” aptly defines what Jesus is telling us not to do, when He tells us, “take no thought”, which is the Greek word µe??µ??? merimnaó: (marri-naw-O’) meaning, to be anxious about, to be apprehensive, unduly concerned, distracted; which also implies being drawn in opposite directions; "divided into parts".
Now, Jesus tells us not to worry about such things as food and clothing, that our Father in Heaven know we have need of such things.
Let me totally honest with you? When I read this passage and when I think about worry, personally, I don’t think about food or clothes. Now, I know that is a real concern for many people throughout the world, especially in third-world countries. However, in most of the modern world, the reality is, most of us don’t worry about what we’re going to eat or wear each day.
Truth is, our list of worries is a little more complicated or at least we think they are more complicated, than just food and clothing.
Todays’ life is a little more complicated than it was in Jesus’ day. And, I know many of us quote this passage, but truth is, many of us don’t relate to it, because we feel like it doesn’t apply to us, because our worries are not so simple as food and clothing. Let’s be real! Are worries are:
Paying rent or mortgage
Getting sick or injured.
My job, whether I will fired or laid off, get a promotion or not, or find a job.
Worried about Car accidents or being injured.
Whether something happens, and will I have enough insurance to cover it.