MONDAY, APRIL 4TH
A TIME OF COMFORT
As we sit by Jesus, awaiting his good word, we try to release our thoughts from any troubles or concerns. But this isn’t always easy, is it? We always welcome – perhaps need – his comforting presence and words. And so Jesus begins…
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry 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 clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:25-33, NRSV)
Sit in the quiet as you consider this message. How do his words make you feel? Are there any worries in your thoughts today? What is Jesus saying to you?
“Do not worry…” Sometimes this seems impossible for me. My worries aren’t about the physical needs that Jesus names here – food and clothing – but generally about other concerns. I worry about the well-being of my loved ones, or the health of our environment, or the safety of our world. I worry about the mistakes I make in relationships or responsibilities. These intangible concerns can feel like heavy burdens at times.
Today Jesus reminds us of two things. First, God knows what we need. Second, our focus should be to strive for the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God. These two instructions show us when to act and when to place.
We can replace our worry with action, as we act to change what we can to help bring about God’s kingdom and righteousness. For example, we can take steps to ensure the well-being of others, to reduce our impact on the environment, to work for peace and justice, and to share the love of God as much as possible. We can live and work with diligence and integrity, becoming more mindful of our actions in our daily responsibilities. We can love and serve with compassion and mercy, becoming more mindful of our actions in our relationships with others. And always, we can seek forgiveness and make amends when we fail.
We can replace our worry with surrender, as we place the things we cannot change into God’s loving care. When our troubles feel beyond our capacity, we can surrender them to the One who is infinite love, who created this universe and all of eternity, of whom Jesus said, “your heavenly Father knows that we need all these things.” We can place ourselves and all of our concerns with the One who holds the future – and who love us beyond our wildest hope.
We are called to care and to help where we can, but we are not called to worry. One day at a time, one moment at a time, may we be attentive and ready to act, but also remain peaceful and free to place.