Faith of Jesus Daily Devotional - Day 25
Previous Context: devotion:Matthew:6:19-24 Treasures in Heaven
Todays subject goes hand in hand with yesterdays. Remember that this is one continuous sermon; there would not have been a pause or break between these two. What one treasures one is anxious about. Treasure is not just the accumulation of wealth, but wealth buys the daily essentials that we are most concerned about. Have not the capital to purchase or the resource to produce/secure/barter and there is bound to be worry over it. Many people however are consumed by the obsessive troubling over it even in their abundance more out of faulty spirit than of sheer desparation; their treasure is daily plenty yet no current amount seems enough.
What is God doing?
Note that there are three God given means examined here: processes external from us (the fowls of the air coming upon a field where God is already processing grain), processes internal (flowers of the field whom God is processing from within into genus identities); and processes only by God's special command (adding cubits to one's stature). None of these process in their natural examples can the principal object effect by worry.
"Your heavenly Father feedeth them" - fowls
Know that in it's uncorrupted state the fowl hungers for that which has been alloted it: grain, not blackened swordfish steaks, not double cheeseburgers. The fowl gets himself in trouble when she takes from man's corrupted hand eating salted buttery popcorn, her taste for grain will never again be the same and she may starve to death seeking only that.
"If God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you"?
Know that the flower in it's natural state is beautiful just as God has made it and each flower genus is beautiful in it's own distinctive way. The concept becomes corrupted when the flower thinks of itself as a pine tree. This concept is shown to be true even back to the Garden of Eden when man suddenly became ashamed of the now corrupted image he had of himself and his wife.
"Add one cubit unto his stature" - man
Know that there is man as God has made him and then man the way he perceives himself to be. As we've begun to see that image he has of himself is corrupted. To the man it may seem perfectly reasonable to worry that he is not one forearm's length taller or at least that the others see him as being so, but honestly what purpose is it to God that the man become that. Does he amount to anything more in God's eye by being such? If it were needed to be done in God's plan, it certainly wouldn't be the man's worry will make it happen, it would only be by a special act of God specific to this incident.
We have had previous considerations of God's general grace upon all man and so far this discussion seems to be a part of that to a large scale. I would like to make mention of some occasions of extraordinary providence such as those soon to be encountered by these twelve disciples with Jesus' feeding of the five thousand, the calming of the tempest storm, a colt for Jesus to make entry on tied to a certain post, etc... We also have record in the Testaments both old and new of other occurrences; even testimonies yet today of saints say on missions that are miraculously provided for in the course of their work. There are indeed special providences. Again though worry has done nothing to cause or expedite them into happening.
"Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things".
Given our corrupted sense I think it best to first question the distinction we make of what is in fact needed and what is wanted and what form it should be expected to be delivered in. The wild rose that sees itself as a Ponderosa pine is going to pray for and expect needles and cones any day now, probably brought to him one by one in the beaks of African hummingbird with leg ribbons as a confirming sign; no doubt. The salt craving goose expects the winter ice to suddenly lift revealing much freshly popped buttery treat beneath. Does the man needing additional stature expect his legs to lengthen or his neck to extend by morning? Sounds silly, but are our own various corruptions anything less?
God's knowledge is a consistent thread so far in this sermon not only in what we need, but the motive/objective we have placed behind it and the methods and means that we are willing by our own resource undertake if God somehow does not do for us as we demand HIM. You'll remember that Jesus Himself was tempted along these lines to call upon God to turn stones into loafs.
What is man doing?
Quoted resource: strongs 'G3309'
Man is being anxiously consumed over issue of daily life, over our raiment, over what we shall eat/drink/wear; in other words over material things to the point of neglecting the spiritual. We will even see in modern Christian prosperity cults and teachings certain followers that are so concerned over their material needs/grasping for help so frantically that they are cherry picking bible verses to feed into their obsession for material gain. Imagine praying for or claiming as spiritual birth right the miraculous receiving of a million dollar house or yacht and how different that is from what Jesus (who had nowhere to rest His head) is talking here about.
Quoted resource: strongs 'G2549'
The evil of the day reminds me of our previous considerations of the rust, the rot, the eating away and the thievery of this world. They are all things to consider. Anyone who has been through a plague or a drought or depression knows how the survival instinct takes over and the single minded drive that got you through that experience continues long past the actual season. I will not say that that is a bad thing in and of itself. Jesus is not saying to not reap or sow or store up or be self sufficient/prepared/thrifty, there is plenty of scripture to support these disciplines, He is saying that the excesses of thought/the cares of this world can/do choke the word of God off if we so let it and that life is more than these daily needs.
What does this passage tell us about the about the commands and faith of Jesus that saints are to keep/guard?
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you".
It is not all that different than saying be poor of spirit, be meek, be pure of heart, hunger/thirst for righteousness, others may persecute you for your beliefs by keeping you from these kinds of daily necessities. It is not all that different than saying here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
We should now also consider from earlier parts of this sermon that in Christ we are a body, that the body has a responsibility to itself to keep this concept right-side up in our minds, that the body aptly supplies unto itself, that there are efficiencies to be obediently maximized in the body that the lone individual cannot attain to.
We must also consider a person's further responsibilities at this point as well. A parent for example does have the added responsibility for the little ones that cannot care for themselves, just as a caregiver for the elderly or sickly. Adding this into the mix of what we have already been talking about, it seems logical to suggest that by making the pursuit of God's kingdom and righteousness our first order produces a series of traits and obediences within us (His influence upon us) through which God provides our daily sustenance by means internal/external and of special providence. This is opposite making securement of our daily needs first and then if there is time and the mind and the strength left at the end of the day to pursue kingdom and righteousness; well then by all means. The two opposites are physically doing nearly identical things in their day, but doing them from two separate motives and mind sets. One is troubled, the other one trusts.
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself".
Again, thought is being associated with worry here. Thought as in planning/preparation/working for/investment towards are nearly a different thing or can be when properly maintained, just as words care free and worry free. The sluggard in a sense is care free as the rich man is worry free; but, is either man really? This teaching really appears to be more about perspective and direction and spiritual influence/resource.
Next: devotion:Matthew:7:1-6 Judging Others
nkjv@Matthew:19:29; nkjv@Leviticus:25:20-21; nkjv@Psalms:34:9-10; nkjv@PSalms:37:3 nkjv@Psalms:37:18-19, nkjv@Psalms:37:25; nkjv@Psalms:84:11-12; nkjv@Mark:10:30; nkjv@Luke:18:29-30