What about the mess?
Is it pride to tell you my garden has been spectacular over the last 2 or 3 months, with a wonderful display of daffodils and other spring flowers? The best of it, is that I didn’t have to do anything for it – those bulbs were planted years ago, and they just keep coming back and multiplying! I love spring! Now, sadly, they’ve pretty much finished, leaving a straggly mess of leaves recuperating the energy back into the bulbs. So if we don’t put up with the messy leaves in May, we don’t get the flowers next spring.
Our passage today, Matthew 6:25-34 reminds us of how God provides food for birds, and beautiful garments for even weeds. So it’s about God meeting our needs, right? No, actually. I have to admit I’ve missed the point so many times when I’ve read this. It’s about not worrying. Jesus was talking to people who were going to face privation and terrible persecution. He never promised a life free from things to worry about – “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v34).
In suburban Britain we cannot contemplate that God would allow us to go without any little comforts. But “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (v25). Bad things happen to good people sometimes, and we have to learn how to stop worrying when they do. Life is not just about feeling happy and comfortable. It’s the pagans who run after these things (v32)! Being anxious achieves absolutely nothing – we know this but we still feel we should be worrying anyway!
Our first and foremost concern should be God’s kingdom and righteousness. Get that perspective, and the rest falls into place. God knows what we need, better than we do. He knows the future.
My garden may look straggly right now, but if I tidied up the leaves too soon, I’d lose next year’s bloom. Life might feel messy, but God knows what he is doing in our lives. He knows what we really need, not just now, but for the future. We must lay down our anxiety, concern ourselves with promoting his kingdom, not our own, and trust him.