Matthew 6:24-34


1. General
Some people are great worriers. They worry about whether their needs will be met. And if those needs are met today, they then worry about whether they will be met tomorrow.

Some people worry about possessions. They worry about the fact they haven’t got certain things. And, when they have them, they worry that someone will steal them or take them away. Some people worry about money, about not having enough. And those that do have money, worry about the risk of losing it and the need to keep it safe.

Some people worry about their health. The unhealthy, because it always seems to be one thing after another. While those who are healthy, worry about getting sick. And some people worry about their family lives and relationships, and about what people think of them. And whether they’ve said the right thing, or the wrong thing. Indeed, it seems, sometimes, that there is nothing in the world that some people don’t worry about.

Now, of course, I’ve exaggerated, because sometimes there can seem to be good reasons to worry. And political instability of certain parts of the world does give reason for concern. So too, the financial markets, which from time to time, gives good reason for people to be concerned about their savings, and their future income.

2. Perspective
But, despite that, one of the things that the Bible is very good at teaching, is the need for perspective. Because, whether we’re the kind of people who worry about absolutely everything, or whether we’re the kind who only worry on occasions, the Bible quite clearly teaches that there is no need for worry at all. It gives advice which would seem to go against the grain of everything we know and experience. And it contrasts greatly with much of what many of us put ourselves through.


And in one passage in particular, Jesus taught about worry. And he taught it from a background of a society where there was often a shortage of food. In other words, he knew what he was talking about. He knew what people faced day after day.

And yet, he taught that there was no reason for any believer to be anxious. And he gave five reasons why.

1. There’s More to Life than Possessions (25)
And the first reason Jesus made why we should not be anxious was that we should not act as though possessions were the be-all and end-all of life. Not even food, drink, or clothes. Because there is so much more to life than these worldly things.

Now that is radical thinking in most people’s language. Jesus was indicating that there was something far more important than what we might consider to be the basics of life, let alone the possessions we might love to hang on to. As a consequence, we need to get our priorities right. And if we did that there would be no need to worry.

The challenge of Jesus’s words, then, is the need for us to bring perspective in our lives. To work out what is important and what isn’t.

The challenge is to view the material—the here and now—into the greater perspective of our relationship with God. And if we did that, it should discourage the poor and the uncomfortable from worrying about how they will cope, while at the same time discourage the rich and the comfortably off from worrying about how they will hold on to the things that they own.

2. God Will Provide Our Needs (26)
The second reason that Jesus made why we should not be anxious was that, rather than worry, we should learn to rely on God for our physical needs. Now in this, Jesus was not indicating that we should be idle—sit around all day and do nothing. Rather that we should rely on God to provide for our needs.

And Jesus gave an example from nature regarding the care God that gives to even small birds. And his argument was that if God provided the necessities of life even for little birds, then how much more would he provide for our needs?

The challenge of Jesus’s words, then, is the need for us to be totally dependent upon God for all our needs. For him to provide our food, shelter and clothing. (All the things we need to survive. All the things we need to build up a relationship with him.)

And, of course, for those of us who like to be self-sufficient, that’s a difficult thing to accept. But God has promised to provide for our essential needs. We can rely on him. And we don’t need to worry about how we can get them for ourselves.

3. Worry is Pointless (27)
The third reason that Jesus made why we should not be anxious was the simple observation that worrying was pointless. It doesn’t actually get anyone anywhere. It’s a waste of time and effort. It produces very little in the way of achievement. And if worrying is such a futile endeavour, then why engage in it?

And he has a point. Indeed, the worriers of this life achieve little or nothing by worrying about one thing or another. Simply worrying gets one nowhere. Problems need solutions. And while some thinking about problems is necessary, to continue going over and over the same ground, without resolution, usually means an overactive brain going nowhere and a very glum face.

Worrying about lack of food, will not produce food. And worrying about one’s possessions, will not change the situation.

4. God Will Provide in Abundance (28-30)
The fourth reason that Jesus made why we should not be anxious was that God doesn’t just want to provide for his people’s needs, he doesn’t want to just provide for the essentials—the basics of life—he wants to provide for our needs, in abundance.

In other words, if we can get our lives into perspective (which was Jesus’s first point), if we can see that our relationship with God is far more important than the things of this world, then not only is there no need to worry about the basics of life (which was Jesus’s second point), because all our basic needs will be met. But God will then go on and lavish us with things beyond our basic needs. A relationship with God, where God comes first in our lives, means that God can be relied upon to be a generous giver, and our needs will be well and truly satisfied.

And Jesus illustrated his point, by pointing to God’s work in nature. And if God could clothe the grass with splendour far superior to even Solomon in all his finery, and if he does that for such things as plants which come and go, how much more can he be relied upon to do so much more for us too?

Now, I guess this is the one that many people have difficulty with. And the difficulty is that many people want God to bless them, despite the fact they have no relationship with him, and they are not prepared to rely on God for their needs in the first place. And yet they still believe that God should abundantly bless them.

People forget the covenant relationship that God wants to have with his people. And in times of drought the Old Testament covenant gives us a good example of the two-way relationship that is required in order for God to bless his people. From Leviticus (26:3-5) we read: ‘If you keep my laws and are careful to obey my commands, I will reward you. I will send you rain at the appropriate times. The land will yield its produce; the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing season will continue until the grape harvest, and the grape harvest will last until planting time. You will eat your fill and live securely in your land.’ Etc etc.

‘But if you do not listen to me and do not keep all my commands, you will violate my covenant. If you reject my decrees, treat my laws with contempt, and fail to carry out all my commandments, I will punish you’ (Leviticus 26:14-16). So, in order to protect the faithful, and to limit contamination of the faith, there are certain repercussions on those who reject him too.

O, yes God wants to provide our basic needs, and he wants to bless us abundantly. Indeed, he doesn’t want us to worry about anything in life. However, to be true to himself and to be true to everything he stands for, he has placed limitations on himself—to people and circumstances—where people cannot expect to be blessed.

5. The Christian Priorities (31-33)
And the fifth reason that Jesus made why we should not be anxious was that our priority should not be on ourselves. Rather our focus should be on God’s kingdom and his righteousness.

In other words, our thinking should not be on what we’ve got and what we’d like. Rather it should be on being right with God and living life fitting for a follower of Jesus. The reward of which is that God will provide for our needs and even add to whatever it is we already have.

Jesus said people outside the heavenly family may indeed have reason to be anxious, but worry should not be a character of any of God’s children. God’s followers should expect their needs to be met. And rather than worry, they should be concentrating on more spiritual concerns.

6. Conclusion (34)
As a consequence, in the light of his previous five points, Jesus concluded, that for God’s people, there was no point in worrying about tomorrow, let alone the days ahead. Each day had enough problems of its own, without anticipating tomorrow’s quota of troubles today.


Now, of course it’s all very well to read or hear Jesus’s points – and say, ‘it’s easy for you to say’, ‘It’s not that easy’. And that may be true. But remember Jesus was talking from the point of view of a society where food was often short, and he was well aware of the struggles of daily life that the people he mixed with faced. And he knew that, for many of them, the struggles tomorrow and the next day would be exactly the same as the struggles of yesterday and the day before.

He was not offering the people an impossible dream. He was trying to give them hope. And, most importantly, he was trying to teach people something of what a relationship with God would bring. And that would include not only all the joy of a direct relationship with God, but a new perspective on life itself.

Now I don’t believe for a minute that Jesus meant that the change from being anxious or worrying about things would come about overnight. Rather, as the relationship grew and got stronger, people’s lives would become more in balance with the important things in life—the spiritual things—which in turn would reduce a person’s focus on all things worldly.


So, are you a worrier, in a world where there are many people who are worriers? And if you are not worried about something, are you then worrying about something else?

Well, if that’s you, Jesus’s advice is very pertinent.

Indeed, he gave five reasons why worrying was unnecessary. Firstly, because there’s more to life than possessions, and we need to get our priorities right. Secondly, because we can rely on God to provide all our needs. Thirdly, because worry is pointless and gets us nowhere. Fourthly, because we can rely on God to provide, and not just our basic needs but our needs in abundance, because he is a generous giver. And, fifthly, because there is no room for worry, as our priorities should be focussed on a much more spiritual plain.

It’s important, however, to realise that all of what Jesus said, related to the need to have a personal relationship with God. And for those who don’t, they may well have a reason to be anxious.

Of course, it’s very easy to say, ‘Don’t worry. Trust in God’, when so many of us are good at worrying. After all, we’re experts at it. Some of us have had plenty of practice. And for many people, take away one worry and there are half a dozen other worries waiting to come to the surface.

However, Jesus’s argument is that we need to take heed. The priority of the spiritual over the material is one we need take very seriously indeed.

Posted: 2nd May 2022
© 2022, Brian A Curtis