22Jesus said to his disciples:
I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23Life is more than food or clothing. 24Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds. 25Can worry make you live longer? 26If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else?
27 Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith!
29Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need. 31But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well.
Treasures in Heaven
32My little group of disciples, don't be afraid! Your Father wants to give you the kingdom. 33Sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves moneybags that never wear out. Make sure your treasure is safe in heaven, where thieves cannot steal it and moths cannot destroy it. 34Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
In our anxious moments, we clothe ourselves with worry and spread a feast of fear before us. Our thoughts circle and chase us just as we run to secure them. When we are most desperate to feel in control of our lives we are most prone to set a trap for ourselves.
In times of wandering God urged the Israelites to record, remember and recite the works of his hand to strengthen their faith. Our ears can apparently feed our hearts. So too our eyes can feed our minds. To battle worry, Christ instructs us to fix our gaze on beauty.
Very simply, we are to turn from all that we cannot control to rest in the presence of the Creator. Like celebrating a visual Sabbath we are to look in humble wonder at the soft contours of a feather and dark pollen on a white petal. Anxiety cannot compete with awe.
When we scan the spiritual horizon seeking the Spirit’s work, we step lightly over the earth’s rubble. Paul advises his friends in Philippi, ‘…keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.’ As we honour God with our undistracted attention we find that life’s stresses no longer master us.
God knows our weaknesses well. He looks with tenderness at us, skittish sheep in a predatory world, and tells us once again, ‘Do not be afraid.’ The only hope we have of doing this is to fix our eyes deliberately and unwaveringly upon the Shepherd.
Great Shepherd, your world reminds us of your perfect care. Turn our anxious gaze from our uncontrollable worries to the work of your unstoppable Spirit. Thank-you for meeting our deepest need by feeding and clothing our souls in Christ. Amen.