Look at the birds

This morning I watched a beautiful Cardinal outside my back window scrounging around in the ground looking for some food for the day. There seemed to be a calmness as well as urgency to the task. It was the daily food finding mission. Everything turned out just fine.

Not so simple with us human, though, is it? Accompanying our daily routine is usually a generous dose of worry.

Why do we worry so much? We worry in this country to an unbelievable level.  Parenting magazines are sold based on worry. Pick up a parenting magazine and you?ll be convinced that everything in your fridge will kill your child, and every corner of your furniture is out to jab your kid in the eye and destroy his eyesight. We sell really expensive car seats based on worry. We sell almost everything in our culture based on worry. Have you ever thought about that?

It’s not just moms, it’s not just parents, its all of us. We all freak out, don’t we? To help us win over worry Jesus simply says, “Look at the birds.” “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt 6:26, 27)

Jesus says, just look at the birds. He did this kind of thing a lot. He would take something very simple in nature and use it as an illustration for his listeners. He says look at the birds. These words are part of His most famous teaching, The Sermon on the Mount. This sermon was delivered on a hillside, outdoors. There were probably birds he could point to. And he basically says, “Look they do just fine, they get enough.” In fact he says God feeds them. Others might say mother nature runs its course and all that. Jesus will have none of that. He says Father God feeds them. There is no worry in their lives, no attempt to pile up goods for an unforeseen and unforeseeable future, and yet their lives go on.

The point Jesus is making is not that birds do not work. It has been said that no one works harder than the average sparrow to make a living. The point He is driving home is, they do not worry. There is not found in them the over anxiety, insecurity and doubt that is found in human beings. He asks, “Are you not much more valuable than they?” of course you are. You are the crown of God’s creation. We bear in us the very image of God.

And then he adds this kicker- “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life.” Guess what? You can’t. Worrying about things does not make you live longer. It actually hurts you in the long term. If anything, worry will shorten your life. It will not add any inches to your height, take inches off your waist, take minutes off your running time or replenish a rapidly diminishing hair supply. What Jesus is saying is, “Worry is useless and accomplishes nothing.” It has never paid a bill, cleaned a house, put food on the table, solved a family problem or any other problem. There is not a worthwhile accomplishment in this world that can be attributed to worrying. Though there are no positive benefits to worry, there are plenty of negative ones.

Jesus is just pointing out the absolute absurdity of it. He says- This isn’t going to make you any better guys. It isn’t going to do anything for you that is helpful just a bunch of stuff that is harmful.

Worry is distrust in God. It is not caused by external circumstances. Put two different people in the same circumstances, one can be absolutely calm while the other is worried sick. Both worry and peace come not from circumstances but from the heart. And Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter. Where is your heart with God?

Worry is distrust. Why is it so strong when we have a God who can supply us with all the necessities of life and has promised to do so? It is lack of faith when we are over-anxious about the things of life. Aren’t you ready to be free?

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