The Song of the Mountains Verse 45.
Time. We never seem to have enough of it. Well, we do if we make different choices. We will never have time, unless we commit to making time. The number one reason that I am aware, given by people in pre-Covid days, for not attending religious services, is time. We value our time, as we only have so much. What we invest our time in says a lot about what we value. So when people of faith stop investing their time in the Kingdom, something happens: worry creeps in. This is the heart of this lesson.
This article covers a broad section of the Sermon on the Mount concerning overcoming worry with faith, Matthew 6:25-34. These can be difficult verses to understand, as Yeshua/Jesus uses an illustration of God’s provision for nature in order to illustrate His care and provision for humanity. Think of the birds, the lilies, the grass; the Lord provides for their need, and makes them beautiful, even though most of them will never be directly admired. He still provides.
Yeshua instructs us, “Don’t worry about your life,” about food, our bodies, clothing, or our needs. It is not beyond the scope of reason to say, “How can I not worry?!”
The answer to this is found in verse 33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” What is Yeshua saying? It is a strong correction, albeit a subtle one. In verse 33 He is telling us that we are focusing on the wrong thing. What? People become anxious, for the same reason that they become hypocritical: they begin to focus on the self rather than God. The worried person focuses on providing for his or her own needs, and in doing so, become overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. Why? They no longer discern, or receive the reality of the grace of God operating in their lives.
What is the cure?
Grace. As we seek the kingdom of God, and His righteousness first, we are reminded that the Lord cares for us, and will supply the need that we are desperately attempting to fill ourselves to no avail. How much more does the Father loves us whom He has redeemed through His Son? If He cares for nature, certainly He will care for us.
Peter reminds us that the Lord desires to see to our concerns, “Throw all your anxieties upon him, because he cares about you” (I Pet. 5:7). Yeshua is giving us permission to give our worries over to the Lord. He is giving us permission to believe God for our needs; but it does not necessarily imply our “wants.” There is a difference. Needs are necessary for life. Wants are what we believe will make our lives better. The sad thing is that we do not really know how well we have it, until we are with those who are lacking.
This leads us to the other side of this word from Yeshua. There are times, in our seeking of God’s Kingdom, that we are the source of His provision for others. There was a time in our history when family and friends took care of each other when times were tough – today that generosity of spirit seems to be disappearing, largely due to the weakening of relationships in general.
Seeking, or convenience.
Yeshua is teaching us to place faith, and the seeking (actively pursuing) of God’s Kingdom and righteousness, in the place of priority. After all, what has worry added to us but stress, sickness, and fear. What does it mean to “seek” God’s Kingdom? Yeshua is speaking to us about lifestyle; it requires time and effort. Yet, we have so much pressing in on our time that we too exhausted to make the effort – largely because we don’t see the need – and when we don’t see the need – we will not see the reward of the seeking.
Today the number one reason that “identifying” Christians do not attend weekly church services is time. Here is how we find the time to attend church, which still has enormous benefit to the heart, mind and soul if done properly: we turn off the TV, and the tablet; we stop texting 24×7; we stop chasing after every event every night during the week; we politely refuse to participate when events are scheduled during the time of corporate worship. Contrary to popular belief, children do not die because we say no to them, or bring them into the house of God.
Causal Messianic faith has placed worldly pursuits first, and His Kingdom and righteousness second. Priority.
As we begin to take our eyes off God, placing Him in a secondary position, we find that fear creeps in, worries build, and the things that we have, which is more than enough, can no longer satisfy. Today people are looking for “peace” by adding to their schedules events to create “peace” that is immediately lost after they leave that environment. Peace comes to us by faith in Messiah, who then establishes in us peace that is in us everywhere we go; but faith, and a pursuit of the things of God in every area of life, must be part of our daily lives to overcome worry and trouble.
I write to you from personal experience, that nothing I have ever worried about has benefitted me. To the contrary: worry consumed my strength, hope, and faith.
How should we live our daily lives? Let Him lead, as we make the most faithful, prayerful and purposeful decisions that are available to us at that time. Let us be thoughtful, obedient and good stewards of the lives, and goods in our care.
Be well. Shalom.