I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.
Introduction: Trusting God for Daily Needs
George Müller (September 27, 1805 – March 10, 1898) was a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England. He was one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren movement. Later during the split, his group was labelled as the Open Brethren.
He cared for 10,024 orphans during his lifetime, and provided educational opportunities for the orphans to the point that he was even accused by some of raising the poor above their natural station in British life. He established 117 schools which offered Christian education to more than 120,000 kids.
Mueller built many orphanages at Ashley Down, England, totally without a personal salary, and he relied only on God to supply the money and food needed to support the hundreds of homeless children he befriended in the name of Christ.
A man of radiant faith, he kept a motto on his desk for many years that brought comfort, strength, and uplifting confidence to his heart. It read, "It matters to Him about you." Mueller believed that those words captured the meaning of 1 Peter 5:7 which tells us to:
"Cast all your anxieties on Him (God) for He cares for you."
Mueller rested his claim for divine help on that truth. He testified at the end of his life that the Lord had never failed to supply all his needs.
Through all this, Müller never made requests for financial support, nor did he go into debt, even though the five homes cost more than £100,000 to build. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children, further strengthening his faith in God. Müller was in constant prayer so that God touched the hearts of donors to make provisions for the orphans. For example, on one well-documented occasion, thanks was given for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage. The milk had to be used quickly due to the fact that, in those days, you couldn't keep it very long. So it was either give it to them or the milk would spoil.
In his autobiographical entry for February 12, 1842, he wrote:
A brother in the Lord came to me this morning and, after a few minutes of conversation gave me two thousand pounds for furnishing the new Orphan House. Now I am able to meet all of the expenses. In all probability, I will even have several hundred pounds more than I need. The Lord not only gives as much as is absolutely necessary for his work, but he gives abundantly. This blessing filled me with inexplicable delight. He had given me the full answer to my thousands of prayers during the [past] 1,195 days.
In Matthew 6:25-34 we have a continuation of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In this section our Lord addresses the sin of worry.
He just got finished telling His followers not to lay up for themselves treasures on earth but rather to lay up treasures in heaven. And, as we said in a previous message, this is not a teaching against saving money or providing for one's family by a good days work. Rather it is addressing the heart and its priorities. It is how one views worldly wealth.
Spending one's life accumulating earthly wealth at the expense of serving God and His Kingdom is a sure sign that a person has their priorities out of order. And it shows that money is their master rather than their servant. Money becomes an idol. And one simply cannot serve both God and the idol of money.
In the same way, worrying about your daily needs is a heart issue as well. It reveals a heart that doesn't trust your heavenly Father who loves you and wants the best for His children. It is saying that you don't think God can or will provide for you and your needs.
With these things in mind, let's look more closely at the commands of our Lord in this passage and see how we can better apply them today. Jesus' gives us several reasons not to worry. And understanding and applying them can revolutionize our lives.
I. Don't Worry Because Life is About More Than Food or Clothing (25)
The first reason Christ gives for not worrying is that life is more than just food or clothing. He tells us in verse 25 that:
"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? "
By saying the words 'for this reason' Christ is hearkening back to the problem that he just finished addressing in verses 19-24 which is the improper desiring of earthly riches. This wrong desire often begins with worrying about earthly needs. Worrying leads to the desire to hoard our riches.
But our Lord is saying that there is more to life than food, clothing or any physical necessity for that matter. Notice that He didn't say that they weren't important at all. And he didn't say not to concern ourselves at all. Jesus wasn't advocating laziness and he certainly didn't tell us not to work for a living.
What Jesus is saying is that though they are important they should not be our primary focus. There is something greater than a life consumed with material acquisition. And it is that something else which should really be our primary focus in this world. The original Greek word for 'worried' here means distracted. So we shouldn't let anxiety for food and clothing distract us from the most important things in life.
The Lord doesn't specify what that 'more important focus' should be until later in the passage when he tells His followers to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in verse 33. He just wants, at this point, to get our focus off of the daily distractions that will take our minds away from the most important thing- God's rule over the universe, including our very lives.
II. Don't Worry Because You are Valued by Your Heavenly Father (26)
The next reason that we should not worry, according to Jesus, is that, if we belong to Him by faith, we are valued by our Heavenly Father. Our Lord uses an illustration from creation about the birds of the air to teach this truth. He says:
"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?" (26)
It is amazing how the Lord cares for all of His creation, including the birds. Notice that these creatures don't just sit around idly and wait for the food to drop in their mouths. They fly about looking for it. However, the Lord provides for their needs so that there is something there for them to get in order to live. They don't even have the ability to think about storing up food like we do. Yet when they go out and look for food, it is available.
Mankind is special in that we are created in the image of God. We are the crown of the Lord's creation and He sees us as extremely valuable (Psalm 8). Our value to God was later demonstrated by Jesus Himself when He died on the cross for our sins. Further, that demonstration of love happened while we were still dead in our trespasses and sins. Now that we are children of the living God, He will surely not forsake helping us with our needs. And if God provides for the birds, He certainly will for His children as well.
III. Do Not Worry Because it Won't Change Things (27)
A further reason not to worry is that fretting over things will not change the outcome. Here is what Jesus says in verse 27 of this section:
"And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to this life?"
Obviously, there are things in this life that are totally out of our control, such as the hour of our death. Worrying about when death will occur won't change the fact that we will one day die and it won't cause it to come about any later. As a matter of fact, worry can affect our health and could cause illnesses that might lead to our death sooner.
One source tells us that the average person spends 40% of their time worrying about things that will never happen; 30% on things that happened in the past that cannot be changed; 12% about the criticism by others, mostly untrue; 10% about health which gets worse with stress; and only 8% about real problems that will be faced in their lives.
We spend far too much time worrying about that which we can do nothing about. I think that all of us should take a cue from the Serenity Prayer which has been attributed to the American reformed theologian and ethicist, Reinhold Niebuhr. He prays this:
"God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next. Amen."
IV. Don't Worry Because God Knows What You Need (28-30)
We can probably sum up the next 3 verses by saying we should not worry because God knows what we need. To illustrate this, Jesus goes back to nature and says:
"And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 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." (28-30).
God knows and provides for all of the needs of these beautiful yet temporary creations of nature. He knows how to make them flourish and bring forth beautiful flowers and thrive for a season because He created them.
Jesus compares them to the glory and pageantry of King Solomon's ancient kingdom that was famous worldwide during Solomon's life. The Lord says that this kingdom could not compare with the glory and pageantry of these simple plants that the Lord cares for.
And if God the Creator knows so much about the plants of the field and continues to sustain them, He definitely knows what we need to flourish and to bring Him glory. And unlike the lilies or the grass of the field, we are eternal and will flourish forever in His presence.
V. Don't Worry Because the Pagans Do This (31-33)
A further reason that a believer should not worry is the fact that the pagan world that doesn't have faith in an all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful God does that very thing. They don't factor God into the equation and so don't rely upon Him for anything. So they worry and fret about the future and their physical needs. Jesus tells us:
"Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (31-33).
By Gentiles, Jesus is talking about all those outside the people of the promise, and outside the blessings of God. Unbelievers. According to Paul, we who were not a part of the Jewish nation were all part of that outcast and sad group of people at one time (Ephesians 4:17-19). But through faith in Jesus Christ, we have become members of that wonderful group, made up of both Jews and non-Jews who are now made near by the blood of Christ, known as the Church or the Body of Christ. And God is now our Father as well.
We no longer have to worry about all the things that the rest of the world outside of Christ have to worry about. God the Father is our strength and our provider.
When we worry we think like those who have no hope and have no trust in the Sovereign of the universe. I love the poem by Elizabeth Cheney. She wrote this regarding human beings who don't seem to think they have anyone whom they can trust. Like Jesus, she uses birds to make her point. Here is her poem:
"Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
Let we who name the name of Christ never give anyone cause for doubt that we do have a Father in heaven who truly cares for us, more than we will ever fully realize. Instead we should seek His Kingdom and His righteousness and God will provide the rest.
VI. Don't Worry Because Today Has Enough Troubles. (34)
The final reason we must not worry, is that today has enough trouble to solve without fretting about the future. Jesus said:
"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself; Each day has enough trouble of its own." (34).
God gave us individual days to deal with the things that He has planned for our lives. Each day has enough going on to occupy our minds for that day. There is absolutely no advantage to worry today about tomorrow's problems. It was Scottish physician and novelist A.J. Cronin who once said:
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.”
So we all need to learn to take one day at a time, do all to the best of our ability and then move on to tomorrow when it gets here. God is the Lord of the past, present and the future. He is working all things out for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So we give tomorrow to Him and let our heavenly Father handle it.
As we sum this section of Christ's Sermon on the Mount up, there is an old chorus that I learned as a child which often comes to my mind when I'm tempted to worry. It tells us:
Why worry, when you can pray?
Trust Jesus, He'll be your stay.
Don't be a doubting Thomas,
lean fully on His promise,
Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray?
This little song also leads my mind back to what the Apostle Paul told the Philippians when he said:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6,7).
When all is said and done, God is still in His Heaven. He has everything under His sovereign control. Nothing can happen to us tomorrow that He does not allow. And He has us securely nestled in the palm of His hand.
We have absolutely nothing to worry about! The moment that we fully realize this fact and stop worrying, the better our lives will be, and the more we will be able to bring Him the glory that He so richly deserves!
© 2021 Jeff Shirley