Lately, I’ve been losing sleep over my employment situation. I am not currently employed and it really worries me. I worry about having enough money to pay bills, and about getting back into the workforce. Last night I tossed and turned for hours.
Having attended a Word of Faith church for several years, I have heard hundreds of sermons about God’s provision. Granted, they were slanted toward greed and excess, but the idea of God’s provision was present. While I now adopt a more balanced view of scripture and life in general, I do believe that God provides for us.
Last night I thought of Jesus’ teachings on God’s provision. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that we should not be anxious about our lives and the basic provisions (Matthew 6:25). He notes that God faithfully provides for the birds, and that we are worth more to God than these. He goes onto discuss the worry over clothing, stating that God clothes even the grass of the field. Surely, he would clothe us.
Then Jesus reiterates his point: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matt 6:31-32).
God knows our needs. And according to Jesus’ teachings, God will meet them. Jesus comforts us with these words.
Rather than stressing out about the basic necessities of life, Jesus urges us to seek first the Kingdom of God. All these things (the basic needs of life) are added to us as we seek first the Kingdom of God. Jesus spent a lot of time teaching about the Kingdom of God. As the Messiah, he ushered in the Kingdom of God, and went about teaching that the Kingdom of God had come to earth. The evidence of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God was that Jesus brought the authority of God to earth. The powers of darkness were pushed back as Jesus proclaimed good news to the poor, proclaimed liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, set at liberty those who are oppressed, and proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19).
One thing that I find very interesting is Jesus’ characterization of the worries of the Gentiles. For the Gentiles seek after these things. Why is it that the they are characterized by seeking after these things? Is it because they do not trust God to provide for them? Do they not trust God to provide because they do not know him as Father? I do not pretend to know the answers to these questions, and I will not presume to offer any speculations. I do know, however, that I do not wish to be characterized this way. I do not want to be known for seeking after things. This is my reason for committing to a life of simplicity — to break the cycle of chasing after things.
Jesus ends this teaching on provision by saying that we should not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. My teacher used to say : “To bear the tomorrow’s trouble today is evil. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. You cannot bear tomorrow’s trouble on today’s strength.” May we all rest well tonight, confident in God’s faithfulness to provide for us, as Jesus taught.