In my personal Bible study I am now making my way through the book of Matthew. It is kindof refreshing after reading all the Old Testament prophets’ books. Those were rather grim and scary. Necessary, but serious stuff. I always read through the Bible for my personal growth. I don’t know how many times during the course of the years I have read the entire Bible, but when I finish I go right back to the beginning and start all over. Most of the time I read one chapter a day, but sometimes more. I find if I read more I don’t necessarily contemplate what I read as much as I should. I read the chapters, pray them, think about them and learn so much from them. God’s Word is new and fresh every single time.
Matthew 6:34 struck home today. When I take it out and set it aside and highlight it - it reads like a command. It doesn’t say “think about not worrying” or “consider the possibility of not worrying anymore”. It says, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow...” Therefore means because of all the evidence given before this verse - you now have no reason to worry about the future. So what do the preceding verses present? A very logical discussion about the birds and the bees. Okay, not the bees, the flowers but the birds and the bees usually goes together..
Jesus is speaking in Matthew 6. He admonishes the people to think about birds, which I enjoy doing. He mentions the fact they do not save for the future. And I have not recently seen a bird which looked worried about tomorrow. They sing, they fly, they build nests, they follow their instincts and live. There is something about animal instincts - I think they are given and driven by God. How does a bird know the worm is there? God shows him. How does a bird choose a good place for a nest? God shows him or her. So birds just know God takes care of all the details and therefore I never see them sitting around looking worried and like they are discussing what to do about tomorrow. They take care of right now and sing and fly and make me feel happy when I listen to them.
Jesus also mentions flowers. How beautiful they are! They are given their beauty by God. Flowers don’t go on a search for awesome colors and shapes and designs. They don’t have to, they have the most creative clothier in the world! If God can take such good care of tiny little creatures like birds and plants like flowers, how much more will He take care of us?
I think sometimes in the past I would get so bogged down by that concept. I realize now I was confused. God promises to take care of my needs. He doesn’t promise he will cover all my wants. I used to have a lot of material possessions which were acquired more to satisfy my wants than my needs. And often, how I was going to hang on to those things would worry me. But I ended up losing all that and I can say in TRUTH God met my needs without fail.
I took myself to God’s Word. About a hundred years ago when I first started volunteering in Awana in California, I went to a conference. One of the workshops I attended was a workshop designed to encourage Bible-verse-memorization. The verse we worked on for that hour was from the King James Version (we only used the King James then, "if it was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for us"...I’m joking, but people did say that):
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Think on these things. That became my go-to verse. In fact, Sarah and I both, during times of discouragement or if worry slips in - will quote Philippians 4:8 to each other. I say it over and over again to myself and repeat it as a prayer to God. And peace always comes. Worry is not just, pure, lovely, virtuous, or praiseworthy. And it changes NOTHING. If there is something I can do to alleviate my worries, I do do it or if it is 2 AM I make a plan to do it.
Then I replace worrying with thinking about Philippians 4:8 and then I search my mind for the things which are just, pure, lovely, virtuous and praiseworthy. Peace comes every time. He takes care of the birds, the flowers, and people.