What consumes your thoughts on most days? You may begin each day by thinking about what you will eat, drink, and wear. Your routine could include selecting your clothes, grabbing some food and drink, and then off to whatever responsibilities you might have that day. During the day, you may think about your next meal and what you are wearing compared to others, the activity you are doing, or the situation you find yourself in. But do your thoughts ever go beyond what you wear, eat, and drink throughout your day?
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches how followers of God should live their lives. Jesus provides some “how-to” instructions for practical, daily living. Jesus teaches about giving, prayer, forgiveness, fasting, money, generosity, material possessions, and worry. Jesus’ instructions come with warnings about improper behaviors or ungodly ways to live and offer encouragement of future rewards for godly living. At the conclusion of Matthew 6, Jesus says,
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT)
If you read these concluding verses of Matthew 6 without all the previous verses in chapter six, you could get an inaccurate understanding of what Jesus was teaching. Jesus addresses what consumes your thoughts and how your daily thoughts regarding giving, prayer, material possessions, and basic needs – food, drink, and clothing – reflect your faith in God. Your daily thoughts and actions communicate clearly your level of trust in God.
If you spend most of your daily life worrying about your material possessions and basic needs – food, drink, and clothing, you are expressing your distrust that God cares for you and His awareness of your needs. Do you trust God to provide for you so that you can focus your thoughts and actions on seeking God’s Kingdom and living righteously? Jesus was not teaching these are separate tasks for you to accomplish but rather a way of approaching life. Do you seek God’s kingdom and living righteously, not as something “extra,” but while you are living life?
Jesus goes on to teach that followers of God are not living in the past or totally fixated on the future. Still, they seek to live daily in the presence of God, with God, and for God. They seek God through their work more than work for material possessions. They seek God through their relationships more than using others for their own personal gain. They seek God by living righteously privately rather than presenting a false righteousness publicly. They aren’t wasting time worrying about things they can’t change because they have discovered their worry is not adding a single moment to their lives (reference Matthew 6:27). They instead live with a certainty that God cares for them and will provide for their needs which frees them to live focused on God as they work, play, and they interact with others.
What if God designed your life with Him to be lived to the fullest one day at a time? Not worrying about yesterday. Not worrying about tomorrow but living fully present and alive, focused on God day by day, and expressing your trust in God to guide you daily and provide for your needs. This type of living Jesus describes in Matthew 6 requires courage and ruthless awareness of how your thoughts and actions express your trust (or distrust) in God. How could you take one teaching from Matthew 6 (e.g., giving, prayer, forgiveness, fasting, money, generosity, material possessions, and worry) and begin to apply it to your daily life, not as a new task to do, but rather a new way for you to approach living fully trusting God?