Are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life — what you will eat or drink; or about your body — what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 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? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire — will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things — and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:25-32
Undue anxiety is very common among the unsaved — I suppose they cannot help it. Yet Christians must help it; for the Lord’s precept is plain and binding: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus!” Philippians 4:6-7
Fretful anxiety is forbidden to the Christian!
It is needless. “Look at the birds of the air,” said Christ: “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?” If you have a Father in Heaven to care for you — are you not put to shame by every little bird that sits upon the bough and sings, though it has not two grains of barley in all the world? God takes charge of the birds of the air, and thus they live exempt from anxious care — why do not we?
Our Lord also taught that such anxiety is useless as well as needless; for, with all our care, we cannot add a single hour to our life!
Can we do anything else by fretful care? What if the farmer deplores that there is no rain? Do his fears unstop the bottles of Heaven? Or if the merchant sighs because the wind detains his ship laden with goods — will his complainings turn the gale to another quarter?
We do not better ourselves a bit, by all our fretting and fuming. It would be infinitely wiser to do our best — and then cast our cares upon our God!
Prudence is wisdom — for it adapts means to ends.
But anxiety is folly — for it groans and worries, and accomplishes nothing!
Besides, according to our Savior, anxiety about worldly things is heathenish: “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them!” They have no God and no providence — and therefore they try to be a providence to themselves. Let the heir of Heaven act a nobler part than the mere man of the world — who has his portion in this life, and lives without God and without hope.
Our distrust of our God is both childish and dishonoring. I was driven through the streets one day by a friend in a four-wheeled carriage, and he, being a good driver, must needs drive into narrow places, where it seemed to me that we would be crushed by the vans and omnibuses. I shrank back in my timidity, and expressed my unwise alarms so freely, that with a smile he laid the reins in my hand, and said, “If you cannot trust me — would you like to drive yourself?” From that ambition I was wholly free, and I assured him that he might drive as he liked, rather than make me the charioteer!
Surely, the great God might well put the same proposal to those who are complaining of His providence. If we cannot trust Him — could we manage better ourselves?
If we are Christians, let us believe in our God, and leave the governance of the great world to the Lord God, our heavenly Father, who will surely cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him!