Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
Jesus asks a lot of questions during His earthly ministry. Most of them are rhetorical questions to make a point of something important. This is a good method to help people consider your point and to remember it.
In Matthew 6:27, Jesus asks, “And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life?” He is teaching us to trust in our Heavenly Father, and in verses 25 through 34, we find Him demonstrating the Father’s care by comparing us to the birds and to flowers.
We, as human beings, have a tendency to worry about all sorts of things in our lives. The meaning of the word used by Jesus is “to be anxious.” Anxiety often leads us to act in irrational ways. Worrying about something never changes anything. In fact, it can even make us sick. You might have heard someone say they were “worried sick.”
Jesus wanted us to know that our Heavenly Father cares about us and sees our every need, and He will supply our needs. This is not an encouragement to sit around and do nothing, so God can drop everything in our lap, but to know that God does supply. We need not need to worry about our own effort.
This was not something new the Jesus brought to them (and us), we find this theme throughout the Old Testament. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalms 55:22. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalms 56:3. “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalms 34:4.
God did not just start caring about His children when Jesus came to the earth, He has always cared about His children. Even the very place we live is evidence of God’s care. The amazing detail of what is required for us to live on this earth is far beyond some random happening. The distance of the earth from the sun, the size of the earth, the exact composition of our atmosphere, and on and on with the details required for us to survive. God provided that, and He sustains it. “Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding (sustaining) all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Hebrews 1:3.
It seems very apparent that God wants us to trust Him for all our needs. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6. Sometimes I think we believe that we should go to God for our really difficult needs that we cannot figure out ourselves. However, scripture is clear about taking everything to Him.
This also means that we should recognize that everything comes from God lest we get to thinking that somehow we are responsible for all we have. Our culture today wants us to think that we have worked hard for all we have, and as such, it belongs to us. This also means that we will tend to worry about it all. When we recognize that all we have comes from God, we also realize that we can rest in knowing that He provides what we need.
We can also be anxious about how much we are accomplishing in this world. Martha was quite busy to show how good a hostess she was. Mary realized that there was something better. It’s not that Martha was wrong for wanting to work hard to provide for Jesus in her house, but being too anxious about that caused her to miss out on the best.
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
We need to learn to cast all of our care on Jesus. Not because we are lazy or don’t want to take care of our own needs, but because He has told us to. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.
I go to work every day, and do my best effort at work, but I trust the Lord to provide for me. The fact that I have never been laid off is not based on my amazing work and intelligence, but rather that God has provided for me all of these years.
Truly trusting our Father requires that we dispense with the idea that we are sufficient for ourselves. It can be easy to say that we trust God, and when things are going great, even easier. However, we need to be willing to trust God for every part of our life and every circumstance, even if they are not as we want them to be.
Job gives us an understanding of true trust in God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” Job 13:15. We certainly prefer to trust that God will prosper us (lots of prosperity gospel being preached out there), but God may choose to take us through some difficult times in our life to bring about the change that He wants to work in us. Can you make the same statement as Job in your life?