There is Nothing to Worry About (Matthew 6:24-34)


Think about your most average days; you get up at your usual time and run through the regular rhythm of your day to prepare yourself for what is ahead. Those mornings and moments can become like muscle memory in that we shift thoughts without thinking about them. We are all creatures of habit, and the rhythms of this routine and the movements of those habits often reveal much about who we are and what we live for. I wonder if someone were to watch you go through your morning routine and then enter into the rest of the day what it is they would learn? What things might they soon discover that you value and live for? It might be routine and mundane, yet the shape of our everyday life is defined and influenced by what gives us value or worth in our lives.

The person who desires to be an athlete will rise early in the morning to stretch, exercise and work out before heading to their job; they may be conscious about what they eat and how quickly they get to sleep at night – every aspect of their day will be shaped by their desire to become the idealised athlete they have envisioned. Every element of their day is affected by that thought and desire. Or think about someone you know whose life is marked by their career; they long to rise the scales of the company they have given themselves to. So they wake early to get to work early, forsake social occasions to stay late, and when you see them, all they can talk about is their work and how their climb is going.

There are so many different types of people, yet the thrust of their day reveals the same things – the idols of their hearts, their reason for living. What we live for shapes how we live and think about living. Timothy Keller captures the reality of our hearts and its effects on our lives when he writes: “The true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention.”1

This is not to say that it is a bad thing to have goals in life or the desire to have a career. These are good things, but the challenge is when they move from a good thing to something deeper, something more sinister – they become our thing. The lens through which we begin to identify ourselves and see our own worth. They become an idol. So What! You might be thinking, what has any of this got to do with this lovely passage about not worrying? There is no mention of idolatry here, no mention of the danger of falling into the vices of putting other things before God. So why the need to consider what it is “we live for?”

See what the Heart Values (24)

It is simple – the grounding of our peace flows from that which our heart beats for. Do you notice that before we get to the cuddly peace and call to be free from worry, there is a rather blunt warning in our passage? In terms of context, we are in the middle of Jesus’ great Kingdom ethical sermon – The Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus teaches what it is to know him, live for him and live within his Kingdom. It is a sermon that displays an other-worldly ethic and moves people from the normal of the broken world we live in into the beauty of the Abnormal Kingdom ethic. A place where all are equal by faith and live by way of the Cross, a place where neither possession, position, nor personal achievement matter. In the Kingdom, all that matters is Jesus, and our hearts, minds, and lies should be for him and be shaped by Him. Thus, we can still enjoy the good things of this world: Sports, careers, family, and possessions – but rather than being defined by them. We define them within the Framework of our Kingdom call as avenues to know Jesus more and make him known.

In the section of verses just before (19-23), Jesus was teaching about the danger of finding security or building an identity on created things. “Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth… for where your treasure is there your heart will also be” (6:19-21). The passage talks about material things, and the rebuke of verse 24 warns about serving money, but we should not kid ourselves into thinking that the warning is limited to the danger of possession or money used to buy them. The rebuke encompasses everything or anything (person or possession) that we might place between ourselves and God, something created that we might begin to trust more than the creator of all things.

Thus, the warning of Jesus that you cannot serve to Masters is, at its heart, a challenge to consider what it is we live for and the effects it has on our lives. We might think of ourselves as Christians or those who worship God, yet, if someone looked at the rhythm of our lives, they might easily say we worship something else. It is from those fallen idols that the worry Jesus calls us to be free from flows. Verse 25 begins with that Great biblical word “Therefore”, which reminds us that we don’t read this passage in isolation; rather, as we read it, we remember where we are and what Jesus has been teaching. The Inference is that the worry we are being called to be free from is directly correlated to the false masters that we might find ourselves serving or being enslaved to.

Think about it, even if you consider yourself a Christian but in your life career is more important to your identity than Christ, then when your career stumbles, slows, or something happens to affect your ability to work, you will suddenly find yourself afflicted by worry based on the why wondering what you can do to change it and reestablish the foundation of your identity and worth. The worry flows from wrong worship. This is always the reality of idols, they promise us so much, and for a while, they will give us what their lies whispered until they begin to take more than they could ever give. Now, this is not to say that the Christian life is free from worry, but rather it points to the foundation on which the Christian life is built – a foundation that cannot be shaken and what our lives are designed to be built on – the saving work of Jesus Christ. The Christians are free from the weight of worry because they are those who know that their biggest problem – sin – has already been death by Christ on the Cross.

” Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” – Spurgeon

From the start of this passage, we are clear on one thing: The key to life from daily worry is the right to worship – specifically, the worship of God through faith in Christ. We might feel the anxiety of our daily lives, but we can trust them to God in prayer and be those who “know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” because in our every day lives we live with the certainty of our eternity! The Cross reminds us that in the end, everything will be okay, and in everything, God is at work. We can join with Job in saying: “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

The call to consider what Master we might be serving and the worry that comes from it is important even to the Christian because it is so easy to fall back into that which Christ freed us from, the chains and burdens of the world without any sight of eternity. It is in light of the Cross and the beautiful truth that nothing we bring earns for us before God – only faith – that we hear the words of that most comforting command (built and secured on the foundation of right worship): “Do not worry….”

A Comforting Command (25)

Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centred in anything short of God and His will for us.” – Billy Graham

Worry is a weight; it is something unquantifiable yet definable – we have all experienced it, and if we are honest with ourselves, we have all felt it. Worry affects us because it afflicts us physically: we might be tired, we may find our throats dry, or food difficult to swallow. Worry is more than simply an ill feeling. It is something deep and personal that takes hold of our being and affects our seeing.

Thus, before we consider the command not to worry, we need to be clear on one thing – it is okay to worry. Worry is part of living in a fallen world when the unexpected happens, and we know that at some point, we (or someone we love) will be affected by the brokenness of the world we live in. Break-ins, illness, loss, death, and many other things will come our way or around us in our lives, and because of them, we will find ourselves thinking about them and mulling over their effect on our lives and those who live within our circle. Worry is part of the human experience, and when it comes to a reminder that all is not okay. It is okay to not be okay. Thus, when we hear this comforting command to not worry, we must not hear it as some form of the rebuke of sin; Jesus here is not rebuking worry as if it in itself is some affront before God: Rather, this is a command that calls the children of God to remember the God they worship.

The God who in the beginning spoke the world into existence, the God who was not surprised when sin entered the world by the folly of Adam, the God who always had the plan to allow humanity to draw close to him not by their own striving but by his providing-effectual Grace. We who live by faith if we are living by faith know ultimately that all will be well in the end because we live not simply because of Grace but with the Grace of God at work in our lives through the Holy Spirit as God works to make us into his image. We know and trust that God is at work in our lives every day, sustaining us in the most normal of things, which means even when we enter into the shadow of a deep valley (Psalm 23), we can be assured that God is working amid our valley wandering; or to put it another way, even if we fit ourselves in the pits of despair and deep worry; even there the Christian has the hope to trust in! The Cross reminds us that God will use the worst of human endeavour and ingenuity for good, and the resurrection declares to us the truth each day that He is sovereign over all things, Lord over life and death, King of Kings, and as he went, he will come again, and when he comes again everything that is wrong will be made right. This is the culmination of our faith, not some wishful fantasy that we hope might happen. If we believe in the saving work of Jesus by faith, then our lives and living must be shaped by the Sovereign work of Jesus as we trust that he will not only defeat the cosmic effects of sin on our eternity, but he will one day remove the effects of sin from this world.

Suppose our life is marked by the service and worship of God above all created things. Then it is not one of bondage but freedom and trust that, in the end, all things will be good because God is good. Hence, we have not enslaved to worry about material things like food, clothes, or the body because we know that the sum and purpose of life are much more than these. The sum and purpose of our lives are in something we have already – Jesus.

“The experience of a life without lack depends first and foremost upon the presence of God in our lives because the source of this life is God himself.” – Dallas Willard

The Evidence for Comfort and illogic of Worry (26-30)

It was at the bottom of the barrel that Jonah finally realised the goodness of God; after he tried to fulfil the commission that God had given him his way by literally going in the opposite direction he finally gave in to the goodness of God’s Sovereign plan and purpose, he rested and trusted that God was at work as he had learned the danger of trusting in created things and instead turned anew to God (in which we can join him in declaring) and declared:

Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

After issuing that comforting command to be free from worry and instead build on a right foundation of trust, Jesus then takes a moment to grow that which he said from beyond the abstract into the tangible as Jesus grew the beauty of his command into tangible normality of the world. “Worried about not worrying? Well, look at the world!” Consider the evidence that is before you; if we are talking about it, theologically, we would say look at the providence of God in the simplest of things.

For everything true about God, there is something to back it up; we might face difficult situations every day, wondering where God is or how we might even survive until tomorrow. All the evidence of our lives or our context might make the opposite seem true: God does not care for us and does not provide, yet, even then, we are trusted and know as true God’s goodness. Why? Because the evidence for the goodness of God is greater than any misreading our mind might play on us, or the enemy might try to capture us.

Consider the Evidence Around You

As Jesus teaches and Matthew records all that he has said, it can be easy to lose sight of the context; Jesus is not standing in a great lecture hall at the cultural centre of his day among the elite minds. Nope, he was on a hill surrounded by everyday people: Farmers, labourers, fishermen, and children. It was there as he declared the beautiful reality of a life of worship with the foundation of trust in God and the evidence. The world around them! You can see Jesus pointing to the birds flying over their heads and the flowers with peeking splendour neighbouring them. The point? If the birds have enough to eat and they don’t go out of their way to build barns and store grain, but each day find their needs met by God: then how can those made in the image of God who is children of God by faith find themselves worrying about created things when the creator of all things is over them. The birds have food, and the flowers are clothed in natural beauty more splendid than all the wealth of Solomon – thus, do not worry, says the Lord Jesus, because the Lord God is over all things. We must place our journey always in the context of eternity and the victory of the cross. We live as children of the Kingdom because we live through the perspective of the Cross, not like the pagans who worry about today because today is all they have to worry about. The disciples of Jesus are to free themselves from worry and instead live to worship.

Recommanded and Commissioned (31-33)

” The most basic need of our souls is not food, clothing, shelter, health, or security. It is God. We were made to know him, cherish him, love him, and be satisfied in him. When we don’t have him, we are empty. When we seek him for his own sake, we are filled.” – John Piper.

When a parent tells their child not to do something, they are at the same time telling them to do something. Think about it, if a parent is sitting with their child and tells them not to take that toy out of a drawer (negative command), they are simultaneously (positively) telling them to leave the toy in the drawer. I think the same rings true in this passage, as Jesus is commanded those listening not to do something – worry – the inference seems to be that there is something else for them to do. In these final verses, we see the favourable commission flowing out of the command that has echoed through these verses.

For those who live by faith with a living trust in God through the perspective of the Cross, when they are freed from the weight of worrying about material things because they know God is at work, they are then to act! Specifically, they are to be proactive in their seeking of God, His Kingdom and his righteousness. Therefore, all listening are commissioned to service and worship in the Kingdom of God and for the King as both a cure for worry and a response to what God has done.

What Does it mean to Seek First the Kingdom

What Jesus means by his commission to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness” in Matthew 6:33 is simple – it is all about priority. Specifically, if we are those whose lives are marked by faith in God and following on the road of the Cross, then we should be those who seek daily in the rhythm of our normality to make God’s priorities our own. Seeking the Kingdom of God means placing the purpose and will of God above our own devices and desires in every aspect of our life. Simply put: It means that as we grow in our faith and delight in our relationship with God, the natural fruit of it is a desire to seek, know, and obey God and to be part of his work in the world.

The ‘Commission to seek God’s righteousness means to pursue the kind of life in accordance with His character, heart, ethic and way. Put it another way, It means to be righteous as God is righteous, to live in a way that reflects God’s justice, love, and compassion. Seeking God’s righteousness means aligning our thoughts, attitudes, and actions with God’s will and living in a way that is pleasing to him. As Micah recorded it centuries before Jesus:

“What it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 CSB)

If you want to ground it in the practical everyday normality of our lives, seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness simply means putting God first in the practical everyday normality of our lives. When we are freed from worrying about idols and created things, we are freed to Worship God and live for Him. Every day, God is both our foundation to live and our cause for Living. This involves regularly spending time in prayer, Bible study, and worship and seeking to live in a way consistent with God’s values and principles. It means seeking to live a life characterised by love, compassion, and service to others and actively participating in God’s work of transforming the world until he comes again.

” The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – A.W Tozer

Conclusion: Freed to Live (34)

In conclusion, we should take to heart the words of Jesus when he tells us not to worry as he commands it one last time: “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” As the people of God, we can rest assured that everything will be alright in the end. Why? Because the Cross declares to us that what the world intended for evil, God will use for his good purposes, and the resurrection reminds us that Jesus is alive, ruling and will come again.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t face difficulties in life, but it does call us to put everything into perspective. Specifically, the perspective of eternity through the lens of the Cross. When we build our lives on trusting God and live out the Kingdom ethnic of Love empowered by the Holy Spirit, when our hearts bear the fruit of repentance, and our living is marked by Worship rather than worry, those around us will be transformed. Finally, let us focus on seeking His Kingdom and righteousness first, helping others along the way, and continuing to fulfil God’s calling for our lives both in our local communities and beyond.

” God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.” – Francis Chan.

  1. Tim Keller, Counterfeit God’s

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