************ Sermon on Matthew 6:33 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on February 15, 2015
"Do Not Worry"
We used to have a Prayer Service in March of each year for crops, industry, and labor. We broadened this service when we met instead on the National Day of Prayer. But then our president changed it into an interfaith service where Christians were expected to pray alongside Muslims and Hindus praying to their false gods. I think it is time we go back to what we used to have: Christians prayers for crops, industry, and labor.
We certainly need this prayer, don't we? We are in our fourth year of drought in California and the other Southwest states. The lack of rain and snow is very distressing. Last Winter I did not see a single cow on the hillsides because there was no grass to eat. I have not seen any water in Yokohl Valley (the other side of Exeter) for a couple of years. I go up Dry Creek Road towards Badger and Heartland and the creek literally lives up to its name. We have members whose wells have run dry. Farmers on the west side of the valley are paying up to a million dollars for wells, pumps, electricity, and permits.
With this in mind it is appropriate that we have a special time of prayer this evening for crops and rain.
The lack of water is not our only care and concern. Life, in fact, is full of many worldly cares. We think of food, clothing, shelter, a job, income, business, mortgage payments, Christian Education tuition, money for church and kingdom causes, disease, disability, and the like.
Cares are not limited to adults. Young people and young adults have their cares too. We think of choosing a college, a career, a life-long marriage partner, finding a job, buying that first car, making the team.
Life is full of worldly concerns. That is true whether you are a Christian or a non-Christian.
And there is nothing wrong with this. Every living person naturally cares for him or herself. Jesus knows that we need to eat and drink. He knows that we need to choose a career and find a job. He knows we need to pay our bills and taxes. When it comes to food, water, clothing and whatever else we need for day-to-day existence, says Jesus, "your heavenly Father knows that you need them" (vs 32b). And, out of His providential care, He Who looks after the birds of the air and the lilies of the field also looks after us. Isn't it wonderful to know that God is fully aware of our needs and cares.
But we also know that we need to keep food and clothing and water within the proper perspective, a Kingdom perspective. Jesus tells us this evening – as people who are saved – that food, water, clothing, and the cares of this life ought not to be the first or only priority of our lives.
I Do Not Worry
A Two times Jesus says to us, "do not worry." "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'" (Mt 6:28,31)
There are some who say Jesus is teaching us to be idle. They have used Jesus' words as an excuse to be lazy. These people do not worry about food, water, a job, money, or paying the bills. They just sit back and let it all flow to them.
There are also those who say Jesus is teaching us against provision for the future. Some have used Jesus' command to not worry as an argument against Social Security, IRAs, life insurance, and proper wills or trusts.
So what is Jesus teaching us? Jesus is telling us we may have our cares but we may not have worries. Worrying differs from caring. We have many cares in life. However, we should not worry about them. To worry means to be anxious. Worry means to have "little faith" in the God Who holds all things in His hands.
B Why are we not to worry about food, water, and clothing? Because God creates the life that needs food and water and forms the body that needs clothing.
Let me remind you, for a moment, about our call to worship and opening song this evening. Together we sang about the mighty power of God. Together, from Psalm 93, we declared the Lord on high is mighty!
Jesus said, "Is not life more important than food?" (vs 25). Life is a mystery. Try as he may, man can never create life. Unlike God, man can not take a chunk of clay and turn it into a living, breathing being with a body and a soul. It is God and only God Who gives life.
Jesus' point: if our almighty God can give life how much more is He able to give the food that sustains that life.
Jesus also said, "Is not ... the body more important than clothes?" (vs 25). Our bodies are masterpieces of God's hands. Observe the intricacy of the human eye or ear – how light or sound is transformed by these organs into nervous impulses that can be interpreted by the mind. Think of the human brain, the function of the heart, the circulation of the blood, the whole process of metabolism, of development and reproduction. This is all a miracle. It is a miracle that protons, neutrons, and electrons form atoms; that atoms form molecules; that molecules form cells; that cells form organs; and that organs fit together to form a living body. This, too, is a miracle done only by God.
Jesus' point: if God can form the human body how much more is He able to clothe that body?
He Who made the greater can easily provide for the lesser. That is what Jesus is saying to us. He Who gives life and forms the body can easily provide food and water for life and clothing for the body. So we are not to worry, we are not to be anxious, about lesser matters like food, water, and clothing.
When you are inclined to worry, oh worrying Christian, think about the life and body God has given you. Think about these miracles and wonders and stop worrying.
C Why are we not to worry about food, water, and clothing? Because Jesus reminds us of God's providential care over all His creatures.
(Mt 6:26) 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.Birds have no seed-time or harvest. This does not mean they are not future oriented. For they are. All their activity is directed towards future goals. In the early Spring they build nests for young well before the eggs are even laid. They work hard at obtaining food for their young so they can grow and be strong. Many of them go into rigorous training in order to fly South for the Winter. Yet, they do not worry. Nevertheless, they receive from the Father all the food they need.
Now comes the point: "Are you not much more valuable than they?" (vs 26). We, not the birds, are in God's image. We, not the birds, have had the breath of God breathed into us. In fact, God has given us dominion over the birds (Gen 1:26). If God gives food to the little birds, He will surely look after us. So, then, why do you worry?
Neither do we have to worry about clothing. Listen to what Jesus says about the flowers:
(Mt 6:28-29 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. (29) Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.The wild flowers do not labor or spin. This does not mean they are not future oriented. For they are. The wild flowers in their own instinctive way also look to the future. All their activities are directed toward producing the bloom which is their glory. Yet, they don't worry about the future. Nevertheless, they are clothed with a beauty which far surpasses the clothing of even the richest king.
Here comes the point: "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?" (vs 30). Flowers do not keep their beauty for long. How many men bought flowers this Valentine's Day weekend? Roses last less than a week and a mixed bouquet lasts almost two weeks. If flowers, which last such a short time, can be beautifully clothed by God we know that man, who is much more important, will also be clothed by God.
Again, He Who provides for the lesser will also provide for the greater. He Who gives food to the birds and clothes flowers with beauty will certainly provide for the needs of man who is the crown of His creating activity. So we are not to worry.
When you are inclined to worry, oh worrying Christian, look to the birds and flowers. Think of how your Father provides for their needs and stop worrying.
D Why are we not to worry about food, water, and clothing? Because Jesus also tells us it does no good. "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (vs 27). Medical Science today tells us the exact opposite happens. Worry can shorten one's life. It brings wrinkles and headaches and ulcers and can lead to heart-attacks.
To worry is to show that we have "little faith" (vs 30). We are not to worry about food and water and clothing. We are to trust in God to provide. Worry, then, becomes a sign of faithlessness. It shows we lack confidence in God's care and providence. It shows that things are out of perspective, out of balance, in our life; it shows we have failed to put first things first.
To worry is to be like the pagans (vs 32). Believers are supposed to be different from unbelievers. Unbelievers chase after food, clothing, shelter and the things of this world. They pursue treasure on earth. Christians are not to be like this.
E When it comes to food, water, and clothing, then, we – as God's people – are not to worry. Instead, we are to trust in God and cast all our cares on Him. For this reason Jesus taught us to pray saying, "Give us today our daily bread" (Mt 6:11).
We are to pray this not because He guarantees He will grant our every wish but because He knows all our needs better than we ourselves do. "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Mt 6:8b). God will supply us what He knows to be our needs.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear" (Mt 6:25a).
II Seek First the Kingdom
A Instead of worrying about food and water and clothing we are to put them into a Kingdom perspective. Jesus says,
(Mt 6:33) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Instead of worrying about food and water and clothing and the things of life we are to be concerned about the Kingdom and the things of the Lord. To strive for food and water and clothing is to be concerned about the needs of 70 or 80 years. To strive for the Kingdom is to be concerned about eternity.
Our life, you see, is not of the present world and its worries about food and water and clothing. If we truly believe, then we do not belong to this world; instead, we belong to the world to come. It is this future life we must strive for. We must be ready and make ready for its coming. Therefore, our first and greatest concern in life must be the Lord's affairs.
B Jesus tells us to "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness." What does this mean?
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is to be ruled by Christ's Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to Him.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is for the church to be strong, and to grow in grace and numbers. This means we will want to build ourselves up by Bible study and prayer. This means we will involve ourselves in the church's mission to the lost.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is for the devil's work to be destroyed; we want every force opposed to God to be defeated; we work against sin and evil at every level of society.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is for Christ to come again and to come quickly; we pray for that and work for that.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is to seek treasure in heaven rather than on earth (Mt 6:19-21).
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is to make God the only Master of our life. We know we "cannot serve both God and money" (Mt 6:24). Number one in our life is not the things of this life – food, water, clothing, sports, recreation, pleasure – but God and His Kingdom.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is to be involved in church and Kingdom work. If we seek first the Kingdom we will prayerfully and financially support the church and Kingdom.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is righteous living – holy, pure, faithful, hating evil, loving good.
Our desire, if we seek first the Kingdom, is to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
To seek first the Kingdom becomes a question of priorities. What comes first in your life: the Kingdom or food, righteousness or clothing, the church or vacation time, treasure in heaven or treasure on earth, God or money, the Gospel or pleasure?
Jesus says to us, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' ... 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 can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
Back to Index of Sermons Page