By Michael Smith
A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 6:25-34
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the gentiles who seek all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Anxiety and worry rates seem to be at an all-time high these days. The Barna Group reports that “half of U.S. 18-35 year-olds (49%) expressed anxiety over important decisions and were afraid to fail. Over three in 10 said they often felt sad or depressed (39%) or lonely and isolated from others (34%).”
Although there are plenty of real and concerning issues about which to stress and fret, Jesus provides us with some simple yet profound wisdom in navigating through these troubled waters in today’s gospel reading: “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” I hear Jesus telling us to listen for God’s voice in the present moment, to act on what we hear, and to accomplish the one or two things we can this day. God will take it from there. I especially appreciate the paraphrase version of The Message: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt. 25:34).
It really is a sane way to live.
Michael G. Smith served as bishop of North Dakota for fifteen years and is currently the Assistant Bishop of Dallas. He works with the Navajoland Iona Collaborative and is a Benedictine Oblate and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Missionary Diocese of Lodwar – The Anglican Church of Kenya
Christ Church, Cooperstown, N.Y.