In Matthew 6:26, Jesus wants us to learn to trust from the birds: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” When did you last see a bird worry itself into a nervous breakdown? Most of what happens to us in life is beyond our control, so why do we still struggle to trust God with our life? He is all-knowing and all-powerful—and, best of all, he loves us! I know that some of us struggle because we have an inadequate view of God. I have struggled at times to trust God with my future. At times, I have thought If I trust God with my future, he may ask me to do something difficult, dangerous, or not in my best interest. The clear message of this text is that if God loves and cares for birds—and certainly he does—then he cares much more for us, for we are much more valuable to him.
Jesus also wants us to learn from flowers. Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase can help us understand the lesson Jesus is trying to teach us:
Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? (Matt 6:28–30)
God is saying that if it is his nature to take care of and dress up the flowers—then it is the same for us. Even the output of the best fashion designers in Europe or New York City—the most expensive clothes, even those of the richest man in history, King Solomon, using the brightest dyes and colors—still cannot match the beauty of flowers! If God is trustworthy with birds and flowers, is he not trustworthy with all the details of our lives?
A college friend of mine named Gary, lived in the same dorm as me and sat on the same bench with me our first couple years of college basketball. His two favorite phrases were “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “Small potatoes.” Both were his way of saying Stop worrying. God has got this—he is trustworthy. Worry does not have to be connected to circumstances in our life. In the same circumstances, one person can be absolutely at peace yet another worried to death. Worry and peace come not from life circumstances, but from the heart—a heart that doesn’t trust God or a heart that does.
Reflections: What kinds of provisions do you find yourself worrying about—food, clothes, rent money, mortgage, bills, retirement, etc.? Find a way to intentionally, seriously, and consistently look at birds and flowers to remind you of God’s provision and watch care over you.
Look at the birds of the air . . . See how the flowers of the field grow . . .