The first words I wrote when starting my journal entry this week were… First, I need words for my article. My fingers immediately started typing Matthew 6:25-34. Wow, I thought, that was quite possibly the quickest response ever. Thank You.
Now you know the origin of many of my articles- a specific prayer for the perfect words to convey my message for the week. The answer is not always so quickly revealed, nor does it always apply so directly to me as this passage did from Jesus.
Please take a couple of minutes to read it for yourself, and then I will share a couple of thoughts on why it is so meaningful to me this week.
If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. (Matthew 25-26)
Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. (Matthew 27-29)
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (Matthew 6:30-33)
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. (Matthew 6:25-34, MSG)
I have never been one to worry too much about what I am going to eat; food has always been plentiful. I have never worried too much about what I will drink (unless I don’t have access to a good cup of coffee on some mornings); I have always been able to find something to quench my thirst. And clothes? Just this week I made another attempt at culling out some of my clothing. (Yes, you can, in fact, have too many t-shirts.) Since I have been blessed to always have enough, I have never been overly preoccupied or felt any sense of guilt when I read the words above. I can honestly say, without hesitation, that God has always provided, and I do my best to express my gratitude regularly for all his provisions.
But this time, the part of Jesus’ message that stood out was the last two sentences. I read it from several versions and translations and specifically selected the Message for the way these two lines are written:
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.
As I read these words, I realized that although I rarely get worked up about anything, I do lean towards the side of perfectionism and have a slight tendency to make sure everything in my life is in order. So, when I read, “and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow”, I realized, oh… He is talking to me.
Of course, my inner critic often reminds me that I should have figured this message out by now. Obviously, I have not. My brain is constantly processing how I will handle or control this or that when it happens, so I will be 100% prepared for whatever comes my way.
As a result, I am in danger of not giving my entire attention to what God is doing right now. (My inner critic loves it when I do this). So, I have to keep reminding myself…
God will help me deal with whatever comes up when the time comes.
Thank You, Father, for directing me to this passage today as a reminder that You always do and say what needs to be done and said at the perfect time. Thank You for reminding me that You are always doing something glorious and mind-blowing, and if I will allow myself to look and listen and observe, I will be astonished. Then hopefully I can relax and truly live today knowing that You are way ahead of me at making the world a better place, and all I have to do is to enter into that process with You. Thank You, Father, for Your words that speak so clearly to me and maybe to someone else who needs to hear them.
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