Matthew 6:28–29 (ESV) … “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Three Reasons Not to Worry (Matthew 6:25-34 complete text)
The chief reason we are so preoccupied with our possessions and with acquiring more of them is that we worry about the future and do not trust God to care for us. This is why Jesus goes on to discuss worry in the next section (vv. 25–34). “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.… For the pagans run after all these things, and 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” (vv. 25, 32, 33). As Herman Ridderbos notes, “In telling his listeners not to worry, Jesus basically was warning against the very same sin he had spoken of in the previous verses: dependence on earthly goods.”
Why shouldn’t we worry? Jesus gives three reasons, marked by a three-fold repetition of the word therefore or so (the same word in Greek) in verses 25, 31, and 34. In each case, the “therefore” points back to what came immediately before. In other words, because of the truth in verse 24, we should not worry; because of the truth in verses 26–30, we should not worry; and because of the truth in verses 32 and 33, we should not worry.
1. You cannot serve God and worry too. Jesus’ first “therefore” (v. 25) picks up on the contrast between God and Money that he developed in verse 24: “You cannot serve both God and Money.” To serve God you must trust God, and you are not trusting God if you are worrying. Do you remember the first answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism? “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” If that is an accurate description of what life is about and what our service to God means, it is clear that we cannot either serve or glorify God while questioning his ability to take care of us. We will be working hard to augment our possessions, and if we are doing that, we will not be serving God. Therefore, stop worrying.
Kenneth S. Wuest wrote wisely, “We commit sin when we worry. We do not trust God when we worry. We do not receive answers to prayer when we worry, because we are not trusting.”
2. If you are worrying, you are overlooking God’s care of the rest of his creation. You do not have to be a great theologian or even a great Bible student to see that God cares for his creation—for the birds, the flowers, even the common grass of the field. But if he provides for the rest of his creation, don’t you suppose he will also care for you? He will, of course. So don’t worry. If you do, you are really slandering God in regard to his wisdom, knowledge, power, goodness, and providential care.
3. It is only by putting God first that we can be sure of anything. If we are created to know God and serve God, then the only ultimately successful course in life is to trust God and not worry. If God has created us and has redeemed us through the work of Jesus Christ, are we to suppose that he will fail to care for us? Of course not. He will take care of us. Therefore, make it your goal to seek God’s interests first and see if your physical needs do not come to you naturally and without any concern on your part.
You can’t do anything about the future anyway. The future is in God’s hands and will be managed perfectly by God whether you worry about it or not. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,” says Jesus, “for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v. 34).