I was talking with some friends this week who are going through hard times, and the passage in Matthew 6 came up. In verses 25-34, Jesus tells us not to worry. He goes on to tells us that God knows that we need food, drink, and clothes and that these things will be given to us if we first seek first His kingdom. Hold on now. Is this verse telling me that Christians who have starved over the centuries were somehow lacking in faith? More esoterically – if a Christian were to try to cross the Sahara desert to go on a mission trip, is this verse saying that God will provide water and food in the middle of the sand dunes? Clearly, we ought to order our priorities correctly and seek relationship with God over all other things, but are we to ignore our physical needs in the process?
I think the answer to this conundrum lies in how God works in the world. God does not drop supplies out of the sky, but relies on His people to do His work. The Bible calls us the “body of Christ” because we are the physical actors in God’s plan. Maybe this verse is a mandate – a mandate for everyone to do their best to provide for themselves and their family, but not to let worry impede the worship of God. Maybe this is a mandate for the Church to do God’s work to feed and clothe those who are in need. Maybe this is a charge to all of us to step up and be God’s hands in the world.
Associate Pastor Emeritus, Greg Zehner