Matt 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. 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 being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious 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 arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Within this room there are 5 living generations, at least that’s how sociologists and market analysts would see it. We have a few representatives of the Silent Generation, those born between 1927 – 1945. This generation was the first to experience life in the suburbs. They had a front row seat to the invention of the television, rock ‘n roll, and the glory days of American cars. In grade school, the most significant teacher complaints about this generation were about passing notes and chewing gum.
We have a few more representatives of the Baby Boomer Generation, those born between 1946-1964. This generation started out trying to save the world in the 60-70’s but then ended up climbing the corporate ladder in the late 70-80’s. This is the cold war generation. They are always busy, optimistic and driven. They could do anything that they set their mind to do and they were the first to envision and use technology to accomplish their dreams.
We have a few Gen x’ers in here as well; those born between 1965 – 1980. These are the latch-key kids, the first generation to grow up with both parents likely to be working outside of the home. They aren’t so much interested in saving the world as they are in saving the neighborhood. This generation was introduced to computers in middle school. They tend to be more individualistic than corporate, in fact they have a tendency to question authority and prefer to try make it on their own.
The Millennial Generation is made up of those born between ‘81-2000 and they are the first generation to be raised by helicopter parenting. This is the video game console generation whose digital literacy is often far ahead of their social, historical or actual literary literacy. This generation has a more global perspective than previous ones and yet they learned early on that the world is not a safe place. They feel high academic pressure. They have been told over and over that they are special, and they expect the world to treat them that way.
Then there is Generation Z, born after 2001, and we are still trying to figure you guys out. This is the Google Generation that have grown up surrounded by digital screens. They are more likely to trust something they read on the internet than something they hear from their parents. This is the most market targeted generation in history. They spend more than $51 billion each year and another $170 billion is spent on them by parents and family.
Every generation has its own unique identity and along with that they have their own unique issues to be stressed out about. One generation is worried about the stock market while another is worried more about the fashion trends. One generation remembers the political tension of the 80’s and worries about global war issues while another is more concerned about the environment and global warming. One generation is worried about how they are going to put their kids through college while another generation is worried about how many likes they will get when they post their next selfie. But there is at least one thing that connects all of these generations; they all worry.
Worry and anxiety affects us all, even those who work really hard to lead a simple life. There is an entire movement dedicated to living a simple and minimalist life. The goal is to simplify the daily routine, minimize possessions, reduce the size of one’s living space, simplify clothing, food and everything. One of the reasons for this trend is the stress and worry that living a normal life can bring.
But, stress is not just a product of having a lot of things, it also affects those who don’t have a lot of things. Worry affects all of us and it doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, young, not so young, successful, or scraping by.
But one of the greatest things about Jesus is that he does not want his people to be filled with worry. The main point of today’s text is that Jesus doesn’t want us to be anxious about life, in fact, he commands us 3 times in these 9 verses not to worry. He wants us to not be anxious about the things of life, but rather He wants us to trust our Heavenly Father and seek His Kingdom. Doesn’t matter what generation you fall into, Jesus wants you to be free.
Thankfully, he doesn’t just tell us not to worry, he actually teaches us why we shouldn’t worry and how we should fill our lives. So there are three points to my sermon today: 1. Jesus doesn’t want His disciples to be anxious, 2. 7 reasons why we shouldn’t worry, and 3. Instead of worrying we should seek the Kingdom of God
I. Jesus doesn’t want His Disciples to be Anxious… (V. 25, 31, & 34)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Now, there are two things that I want to point out from these three verses. First, I want you to notice the presence of the term therefore and second, I want us to look into the actual term that Jesus uses for anxiety/worry.
First, the presence of the word therefore lets us know that this command to not worry is tied to something that Jesus has already taught us. In other words, he calls us to think before he calls us to action. So, what is it that he has been talking about that is supposed to help us with our anxiety? Think back to what we have seen throughout Matthew 6. Jesus has been teaching us what it looks like for us to live in relationship to God as our Father.
The Fatherhood of God is foundational to Christianity. The whole goal of Christ’s mission is to reunite us with our heavenly Father. When a person comes to faith in Christ they are adopted into God’s family and made a child of God and an heir of the Father’s kingdom right alongside Jesus.
10 times in chapter 6 alone we see Jesus refer to our relationship to Our Father and that is the theme of this chapter, Life in relationship to the Father. Our relationship to God through Christ changes everything. It changes how we give, it changes how we pray, it changes how we eat, it changes how we spend and save our money. It changes how we deal with worry and anxiety.
If you are a believer in Christ, If you have been born again; If you have turned away from sin and are trusting in and following Christ as Lord, then Jesus wants you to have the deep peace and security that God is your Father. He wants your life to be defined by that relationship. Whether you are thinking about religious devotions like praying, fasting and giving, or you are engaging in the business of life in this world; the ground beneath you is the fact that the God who created all things is your Heavenly Father and He is in control.
He knows you, He loves you, He knows what is going on in your life and He is working all things together for good. He knows what you’re walking through, He knows how lonely you are, He knows how dark the horizon looks and he wants you to draw near to him for comfort, security and peace.
Our relationship to God is the theological foundation for Jesus’ command that we not give in to worry. But, if you are not a believer in Christ then you have every reason to be worried. The peace that comes from knowing God as Father is not extended to those who reject the Son. The peace that Jesus wants us to have comes only as a gift to those who trust in Him.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace of God that combats our worry is something that defies explanation and understanding. It is a peace that comes from God, it is a divine and spiritual gift. Christians have this peace to ward off the worry and anxiety of this life; but this peace is not promised to those who reject the gospel.
So, the command to not be anxious is rooted in the knowledge that through faith in Jesus, we now have a relationship to God where He is our heavenly Father. But let’s get a little more specific about the type of anxiety that Jesus has in mind here.
The word is not all that complicated and the ESV does a good job with the translation, “Do not be anxious.” The real focus is on the things that bring about this anxiety.
V. 25…do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…
He’s talking about the most basic needs that we have as human beings: food, drink and clothing. Spurgeon called these the world’s trinity of cares. If we are honest these things do cause us some anxiety, and Jesus understands the needs that we have. In fact, he has already taught us to pray for God to give us this day our daily bread. So, Jesus is not denying the basic needs that we have. He is commanding us to not allow our concern for those material things to become idolatrous.
Some of us really struggle with this. Worry can take over our life in such a way that we actually begin to think or live as though the thing we want, or need is the most pressing and most important thing in the world. Our anxiety about these things can absolutely take over our thoughts, our conversations, our noodling around on the internet, and even our way of life.
Most of us don’t worry about food in the same way that Jesus’ 1st Century audience worried about food. Their hope was to have 1 meal a day, but our worry for food has become something else entirely. Our anxiety over food has to do with whether or not we are eating clean, or how gourmet the meal is. Our anxiety over clothing is not about whether we have something to wear, but about whether or not we are keeping up with Insta-mom.
What happens is we elevate and inflate the value of things and when those things are threatened it shakes us to our very core. What we have done is to make an idol out of something and when one of our idols is threatened it intensifies our anxiety.
II. 7 Reasons why we shouldn’t worry
But Jesus gives us two categorical reasons not to worry about our basic needs being met. First, he offers us some common-sense reasons and then some theological reasons.
Reason 1: V. 25 life is more than food and the body is more than clothing – yes, food and clothing are important but they aren’t ultimate. These things aren’t the essence of life so don’t live as though they are. If you have come to understand that God is, then you understand that your life is about more than food and clothing. Your life is about bringing glory to God.
The greatest thing in life is to know Him and to enjoy Him. When we get anxious about food and clothing it’s because we have lost sight of the greatness of knowing and enjoying God.
Reason 2: V. 26 look at the birds of the air – No seriously, look at the birds. Jesus wants us to learn how to combat worry by looking at the birds. The birds don’t just sit up in the trees singing songs, no they work. They build their nests. They dig for worms. They hunt for bugs and other food. Birds wake up each day and they work till the sun goes down and then they nest up and go to sleep. They don’t worry, they don’t fly around with anxiety, they just do what they were made to do, and God continues to be God.
So, Jesus is not telling us to sit back and do nothing because we expect Him to meet all of our needs. As servants of God He expects us to take responsibility. To work as unto the Lord. To work and buy food to feed our families and then to be generous and share with others.
He is telling us to recognize what the birds already seem to know, that there is work to be done and the mercy that God shows us today is sufficient for today. Tomorrow will be a new day and there will be new work to do, but God will continue to be God and care for the birds. If God makes provision for them, how much more will He make a way for us. God sees you as His child, more valuable and precious than any bird, and He will care for you.
Reason 3: V. 27 Which of you can add an hour to your life? – How many of you, when you were kids, desperately wanted to be older? Did it work? Of course not. So, what is the point of this verse? Anxiety doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t do you any good. It will not lessen your problem, it only makes you miserable so don’t do it.
Reason 4: V. 28 God not only takes care of things, but He makes them beautiful – look at the flowers in the field, they hardly last a week, but they are more beautiful than the robes of the king. God loves to make beautiful things. He doesn’t just make the grass, He fills it with flowers. We call them weeds, but He thinks they are more beautiful than kingly robes.
One of the lessons that we can learn from this is that we need to be more thankful for the things we already have. How often do we overlook or ignore the beauty of the fields? We take them for granted and when we do this we are ignoring the work of God in clothing creation in beauty.
We need to learn to be thankful for what God has already given us, for what we already have and stop worrying about whether or not our clothes are out of style.
Reason 5: V. 32 Anxiety reveals a lack of faith – When Jesus compares our anxiety to the Gentiles, he is saying that our worry puts us on the same level in the world with unbelievers. It shows that we aren’t thinking like sons of God but like sons of the world.
Reason 6: V. 32b God knows our needs – We are not alone in this world and we are not alone in the universe. Our needs haven’t taken God by surprise. He sees and He knows and He cares. Worrying implies that we don’t really know what God is like or that we don’t really trust Him.
Reason 7: V. 34 Today gives us enough to deal with – Worry is a waste of time. Don’t you have enough to deal with today? I know I do. We need to learn to live one day at a time. We plan for the future but we don’t worry about the future. This verse lets us know that being a Christian doesn’t mean that you will be free from trouble. But Christ calls us away from the folly of worrying about it and into the peace of having a God who works all things, even the troubles we face, into something good. Face the day with that confidence and don’t allow tomorrow’s troubles into today in the form of anxiety.
In all of this, we have seen that as Christians we are not promised freedom from work, nor freedom from responsibility, nor from trouble, but from worry. Worry is incompatible with our faith. Jesus doesn’t want us to be filled with anxiety, but to trust in the loving care of our Heavenly Father. To help us understand what that looks like He has given us at least 7 reasons not to worry. But now He tells us what we should be doing.
III. Instead of Worrying we should be Seeking the Kingdom of God (V. 33)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Instead of worrying, seek the kingdom. Instead of wringing your hands over what you are going to do, seek the glory of God. Instead of losing sleep over some decision, trust the providence of God and seek to honor Him.
(Illus…Jesus is calling us to our own Moses moment. In Exodus 3 & 4, God came and spoke to Moses from the burning bush and when He did Moses was afraid. But as God began to explain to Moses that He was going to send him back to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go; when Moses heard this he began to worry.
He told God, “But, who am I that Pharoah will listen to me?” and “Why would the Hebrews listen to me either?” Moses said to God, “Oh Lord God, I can’t even talk right, I am slow of speech…please send someone else.” One after another, Moses came up with all of these questions and excuses as to why God should choose someone else. The truth is that Moses was allowing fear and worry to control him. Rather than seeking to honor and serve God, he allowed his anxiety to take over his mind and heart.
Back in Matthew 6, Jesus is saying, “Don’t let fear and anxiety rule your life, instead let the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God fuel your life.”
God’s kingdom involves 3 things: God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule. This is what we are living for. As Christians, we are the people of God by faith in the work of Christ and we are awaiting the complete rule of Christ in a place that has yet to come. We live each day to make the Kingdom of God known and seen. The more we make the Kingdom our pursuit, the less anxiety we will have.
Jesus came, lived, died, and rose in order to reign over an anxiety free people. (Piper)
So come to Jesus and forsake the worry of this life. Come to Jesus and pledge your loyalty to His loving care. Come to Jesus and let His kingship rule over your life, let His Word be the lamp for your feet, and His gospel be the light for your path. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light and He is the only way to find true freedom from anxiety.
 Much of this information was taken from http://www.marketingteacher.com/the-six-living-generations-in-america/