Yesterday we learned that we are not to worry because Jesus commanded that we stop and never start again. So as we begin to make a list of reasons NOT to worry, number 1 is “Jesus said not to worry.” Now we will move on to number 2. We are valuable to God!
Jesus says that we are to look to the birds of the air. Think about the birds for a moment. They have everything they need, don’t they? Birds aren’t known for their sowing seed and reaping at harvest time – they don’t plan out how to provide food for themselves or their families. They don’t store food away in the refrigerator or freezer – or their barns! Birds just take one day at a time and wait on God to provide all they need. Creation is very aware of God and His plan and purpose. The birds know that He will provide their every need. Have you ever heard a bird question God or doubt? Has a bird ever told you how awful it is to have to depend on God for everything? Then maybe it isn’t so awful! We are told to look at the birds and follow their example – because when all is said and done, God takes very good care of the birds.
And yet we are of a much greater value to God! God didn’t only create us, He sent His Son to die for us so that we could have eternal life! He values us so much and loves us so much that I fear we cannot fully appreciate nor comprehend His love and grace! God, the Creator of the universe, took the interest and the time in us to save each of us and to grow each of us, to forgive our sins and change our hearts. We can never say that He doesn’t care!
The point Jesus is making is quite simple – if God cares for the birds the way He does – and we are more valuable than the birds are – then how will God take care of us? That is why He can command that we worry not! Even in the day to day “little” needs, God cares more about us than we may ever know. Our motive for stopping the worry is His care for us. He cares for all of His creation – but He cares most of all for YOU!
We now know that we are NOT to worry because (1) He commands it, and (2) He cares for us. Jesus here it appears to me uses a point of humor in His sermon to further make His point. I have to believe that maybe the disciples and the people there that day on the side of the mountain were just as I am – vertically challenged! They seem to have been short! Seriously, though, Jesus makes a point that we can’t ignore. Who among us, whether short or tall, He says, can add “one cubit” to our height? A cubit is a term of measurement – it equates to about a foot and a half, or 18 inches. Can anybody by shear force of worry (anxiety) add any length at all to their body? NO! No matter what we try, standing on our heads, getting stretched on the “rack”, nothing we do can add a cubit to our height! (Hence our futile attempts at platform shoes and high heels).
Interestingly, this phrase can also be translated another way. Jesus may also be referring to life span! The Greek text can be taken to say that none of us by worry can add any length at all to our “stature”, which can mean “span of life.” Think about that for a moment – what is the world running after these days – health clubs, organic food, exercise videos – everyone it seems is working hard at being fit and trim, healthy and slim. Now, it isn’t wrong to be healthy – it certainly is not a transgression to seek to use our bodies for His glory in any way possible. As a matter of fact we are commanded in Scripture to take care of our bodies. And gluttony is a sin!! (When was the last time you heard a sermon on that?)
Jesus is teaching us that we cannot worry our way to long life. Each of us has one appointment for which none of us will be late – it is appointed unto man once to die (Hebrews 9:27). We will all one day die unless Jesus comes again. In the meantime we must identify that simple fact that if we worry about it, and worry about it, and continue to worry about it, we still cannot add to our live span! Only God can extend life (see Isaiah 38:5).
Worry , on its own, does not foster health or life! Jesus is letting us know that if we fail to trust God and realize His care for us, then we are actually hurting ourselves! Dr. Charles Mayo (that’s right – of Mayo Clinic fame) said, “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, and the whole nervous system. I have never met a man or known a man to die of overwork, but I have known a lot who died of worry.” Today – know that God cares enough for you that He has commanded that you not worry – it harms you! And after all is said and done, the lesson of this verse is this – if we worry, does it really change anything at all? NO! Worry just makes the circumstance that much more unbearable! Stop and notice, if we don’t worry and instead have faith in God and trust His care, then even though the situation may not change, our attitude certainly will.
When we respond as we should God gets the glory because we refuse to allow circumstances to become our god. Worry is really idol worship – the worship of self. We can’t add height to our bodies just as we can’t extend our life span – but we can trust God and see Him bring us through for our good and His glory! Indeed, if we worry the only thing that changes is us! Our faith, or lack thereof; our fear, or peace that passes understanding; our relationship with a loving, saving God, or our self absorbed, self righteous ego. Today , when you are tempted to worry, remember, if you do worry you will expend all that nervous energy for what? For nothing! Would you trade the gift of God (faith) for a lie (worry)? You see, worry tells us that if we think, say, and do the right things, and feel a certain way, then we can change our situation. HOGWASH – trust God and learn to be content where He has put you. Walk with Him. Learn how much He cares for you. Love Him with all your heart, with no room for doubt or fear or worry or any other such lack of faith!
God cares about his creation. His care is so deep and abiding that He commands us not to worry. Worry is a simple lack of faith in God’s provision, care, and love. Is God sovereign, or not? He oversees every aspect of our lives – height (or lack thereof) and life expectancy, just to mention the two Jesus has preached on.
Now we are challenged to see God’s provision in creation once again. He has already pointed us to the birds. Now He points us to the flowers. These lilies of the field were probably not a specific flower but a wide array of wild flowers growing on the hillside that day. Undoubtedly many people had trampled them underfoot and sat on them. Their beauty was ignored and overlooked.
Have you ever stopped and really looked at wild flowers? Think about the Blue Bonnets that pop up on the roadside in Spring (for those of you not in Texas, I’m sorry! You are truly missing a glorious creation of God -but you can look at the wild flowers where you are!). In all of their beauty and splendor they declare the glory of God. And think about all that is there that we can’t even see with our naked eye! Flowers have all sorts of patterns and color schemes and even reflect certain light that we can’t see without a microscope! Some flowers are colored to attract specific birds and bees. Others are used by God to paint the countryside it seems as they sway in the breeze.
Jesus teaches here that for all our worry and care we could not even dress ourselves like the flowers! Not even Solomon, the richest of kings, could adorn himself in a fashion that wasn’t shamed by God’s creation. And many of the people there that day had only one change of clothes. So in comparison to Solomon they were poor and needy. And the flowers of the field out dressed Solomon!
In all its beauty, the creation around us declares the glories of God – it points out His tender mercy and care, His love and provision. If God can make the flowers of the field so indescribably beautiful, then He can more than provide for us what we need to be presentable! Don’t worry so much about what you will wear! Just honor Him with your life and dress.
You see, if God cares so much to take care of the birds and flowers, then we need to learn how to let Him take care of us. Quit trying to do it on our own – we can’t even compare to what He can do! Instead, stop and smell the roses today. Take a look at the flowers of the field – and rest assured in the hope that we have that God cares for us – more than we could possibly comprehend!
Today – don’t worry. Remember:
1. He commands it.
2. He cares for us.
3. He controls our “cubits.”
4. He clothes creation in beauty.
And His care will never be lacking, for He is faithful without end. Amen.
Find His care in these verses.
Psalm 19:1; 28:8-9; 31:10; 34:17; 40:5; 57:1-3
Psalm 62:8; 90:10-13; 93:1; 97:6; 119:50
Proverbs 10:27; 12:25; 15:29; 14:32
Isaiah 12:1; 42:11-12