Illustration by Phil Younk
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Based on the Gospel of Matthew 6:24-34
Half-hearted trust. Trust in stuff. Trust in God.
Again, like last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus’ teaching in this Sunday’s Gospel is clear and hard to follow. Jesus teaches, “Don’t worry.” He says our Heavenly Father knows what we need and that we should seek first the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness.
Much of what is happening in our world is cause for anxiety and worry. The non-stop bombardment of news makes this obvious.
Concern for basic human needs – food and drink, physical health, clothing, housing and care for loved ones is constant. The needs for people in Jesus’ time, while not exactly the same as ours today, caused them anxiety and worry. Jesus tried to help the people understand the reason for their anxiety by using an example from nature. Just as God the Father provides for the birds and all of nature, he will provide for those who have faith.
Jesus isn’t teaching irresponsibility or lack of concern. We need to avoid confusing “worry” with “prudent concern.” Jesus is teaching that worry robs us of the peace and joy we have as children of God. All worry is wasted energy, draining and unhealthy. Jesus came so we would not have to worry – but we continue to do so.
We want to trust God, but not wholeheartedly. We worry about money, jobs, health, the future, and family needs, and we end up putting our trust in material stuff that is unstable.
Trust in God means being content with and grateful for what we have. The more we set our hearts on seeking “first the Kingdom of God” – knowing, loving and following Jesus – the sooner the worry will disappear and the sooner all the other “stuff” will fall into place.
St. Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”(Phil 4:4-7)
“Rejoice” means “to practice joy, to take delight in and be glad.” Joy is a firm and deep confidence that God is in control no matter what the circumstances in our life may be. Trust in God.