Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 6:25-30

Matthew 6:25-30

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isnt there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Arent you more valuable than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, wont he clothe you even more, you people of little faith?
(NET Bible)

The interaction of faith and worry

Perhaps lifes biggest temptation is to go it alone. Some choose to go all out for their own interests, no matter what the effect on others. Such people often rise to great power bearing names like Stalin, Hitler and Mao. Maybe they become princes in hell after a wealthy life on earth. Maybe not.

Jesus calls us to humbly follow him and trust in the care of the Father. If we live as Jesus directs, we will likely not be wealthy, but we will serve in heaven after a life of Gods blessing. Which path are you on?

One important word in Matthew 6:25 is therefore. All of 6:25-30 is controlled by the principle that you cannot be a slave to both God and money (6:24). One challenge for us is to determine the logic that justifies the use of this word therefore. We will get to that logic after a little preparation.

Jesus first commands his disciples not to worry — or to stop worrying— about their lives or their bodies. On a practical level this concern is shown by the scramble for food and clothing (6:25). The disciple is assumed to have chosen slavery to God, and so his clothing and food become Gods problem. Just as God feeds the birds, will he not much more care for the faithful disciple (6:26)?

Further, worry is futile (6:27). Jesus has a way of cutting right to the heart of an argument. He very simply asks who in the group can add even a single hour to their life by worry. David Turner explains that this questions power lies in its absurdity; worry can even shorten life.[1] If worry is impotent, why worry?

Next Jesus turns attention to clothing and challenges his disciples not to worry (6:28). Since the flowering grasses were commonly gathered to feed the fires of bread ovens, it was astonishing that God would clothe them in such splendid colors (6:28-30). Jesus argues from the lesser (wild grass) to the greater (Jesus disciples). If God clothes the flowers, he will certainly clothe his own!

In all his assurances to the disciples, Jesus looks back to the history of Israel. After bringing the people out of Egypt, God fed them in the wilderness of Sinai for forty years. Further, when the Israelites stood on the shores of the Jordan River, Moses reminded them that for all those years God had kept their clothing and their shoes from wearing out (Deut. 29:5).

The phrase you people of little faith (6:30) translates a single Greek adjective that is used only by Jesus in describing the disciples (Matt. 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28). Jesus consistently pressed his disciples to raise their faith to a higher level. Like many people today, the disciples too frequently found reasons to doubt Gods care.

R.T. France points out how Jesus words applied to his first disciples: In the specific situation of Jesus first disciples the issue was one of direct . . . importance: their itinerant and dependent lifestyle made questions of daily provision constantly relevant.[2] When James and John left their fishing boat to follow Jesus, they were no longer earning a living. Jesus had called them to follow him and assured them of the Fathers care.

This biblical text does not mean that Christians should walk away from their jobs and trust God to feed them. Indeed, Paul says that anyone who is unwilling to work should not eat either (2 Thess. 3:10). We are to work to care for our own families (1 Tim. 5:8).

Since we cannot be a slave to both God and money, we should be slaves to God. Craig Keener wisely says, In the end, Jesus teaches here, wealth does not matter, but Gods blessing does, and he will provide it.[3]

Seek Gods blessing!

If you or someone you love is regularly consumed by worry, then you know how difficult and unpleasant that can be. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Pet. 5:7, NLT).

Copyright 2011 by Barry Applewhite, Plano, Texas. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.


[1] David L. Turner, Matthew, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2008) 199.

[2] R.T. France,The Gospel of Matthew, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007)266.

[3] Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999)236.

 

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!