Hi Church Family! Instead of the usual devotional I write each Tuesday, John stepped in and wanted to share a personal story in relation to Matthew 6:25-34. I’ve added some reflection questions at the end to help you process & consider our passage further. Have a blessed Tuesday! – Margarette
Being in this pandemic season certainly for many of us has brought uncertainty and anxiety. In fact, I think it’s safe to say, anxiety is one of the common connecting themes people have felt across the world. Fear of health, job loss, making ends meet, all the while trying to balance the struggle of maintaining normalcy have caused the feeling of anxiousness to spike.
According to a recent survey from American Psychiatric Association (APA), in the year of 2020, over 60% of all Americans felt more anxious than the previous year. But more perhaps more evidential was the fact that 41% of all American felt even more anxious in the year of 2021 than 2020. 21% felt less anxious and 34% felt the same anxiousness. All to say that there has been a collective, sustained anxiousness for the past two years.
And even though these statistics show this, anxiousness and worry are nothing new to the human race. Even before COVID-19, many people found themselves drowning under the weight of anxiety and worry over the many problems in life. I think that’s why Jesus’ message to us in Matthew 6:25-34 is such a prevalent message that extends throughout time, and why I am so thankful that God gave us His Word to remind us of Truth.
Not all people are fortunate to have stable jobs. But for myself, I thought I would hopefully be one of those people that did if I worked hard enough. For 4 years, I had worked at BCBG doing graphic design. For many people, 4 years at the same job practically means you have mastered it. I felt comfortable in 2016. But God doesn’t promise us comfortability. And a week before I was going to be married, I was laid off my work. The stability I thought I had was shattered. I was entering a new life stage at the worst possible moment. I had a big wedding to pay for along with a 2 week vacation honeymoon, new monthly rent with new utility bills and now looking not after just me, but my wife-to-be, Margarette!
I was a wreck. That week before the wedding may have been one of the most stressful weeks in my life and it wasn’t because I had cold feet! I prayed to God and questioned Him why? Why of all times now? Why is this happening? And His answer? Well, it wasn’t a check into my bank account, but rather these verses from Matthew 6:25-34.
“O you of little faith!”
“Are you not of more value than [the birds]?”
Those words seared into me. I broke down. I knew that the Lord takes care of me, but I never believed it in my heart. This wasn’t the first time I had read these verses. I know that the Lord had said these things, but my life was not aligned with these verses. My life was misaligned by the anxiety and worry.
“Lord! I don’t have a job..”
“But seek first the kingdom of God”
“But Lord! How can I possibly afford all these expenses?”
“Seek first the kingdom of God”
“Even so Lord! I need to take care of Margarette.. How can I be a husband if I can’t even do that?”
“But seek first the kingdom of God”
I prayed often during those few days before my wedding. My financial situation did not change. I didn’t get any of my financial burdens pardoned nor did a stranger give me a check in the mail. But the more I prayed, the more I kept hearing the tiny voice saying those same words, “Seek first His kingdom.” Those words that seared me at first, eventually became words that comforted me. What could I do but trust in the words of God? To believe that God cares for me more than the birds in the air and the flowers in the field. To believe that God will take care of my everyday human concerns. To give God my entire attention and not get worked up over what may or may not happen tomorrow. To trust that God will help me deal with whatever hardships that may arise.
That moment in my life wasn’t easy. It was a mixed bag of emotions. But God is faithful to his promises. I wasn’t cast to the street. I was still able to pay off all of my outstanding bills. I am still happily married to Margarette. And when I got back from my honeymoon, I received a call from my boss asking if I would like to work again with her at the same company, now under a new management. Some may call that a coincidence— I call that a God-incident.
Let God take care of you. Focus less on trying to get things and more on letting God give. Steep your life in God-incidents, God-provisions, God-reality.
We hope that how God spoke to John through Matthew 6:25-34 resonates, encourages or even convicts you this week. I hope these reflection questions also help you consider your own walk with the Lord and trusting in His provision.
- Have you found yourself worried, or anxious about anything in your life currently? OR have you found yourself overly concerned or fixated on finances, or other physical means of security? Sometimes worry, concern & anxiety don’t feel like the stereotypical forms of worry, but can look like being overly cautious, and conscientious to a point of trying to control it all by your own means. “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (v. 25)
- Reflect on your life. How have you (or how have you not) trusted fully in God’s provision in your life? Think of some concrete examples and write it down. Take a moment to pray over trusting in Him fully. “Are you not of more value than [the birds of the air]?” (v. 26)
- How might God be calling you to to seek first the Kingdom of God? (Some examples could be reading the Bible to know Him more, or spending more time in prayer. It could also look like seeking to grow His Kingdom by sharing the Gospel with others, giving and helping the needy, etc.)
- How might God be calling you to first seek His Righteousness? Is there any sin He might be convicting you of repenting of today?