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 than food, and the body more 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)On Thanksgiving Monday I went for a run in the beautiful Parkland area of Central Alberta. The sky was large and clear as I ran down a gravel road past rolling hills and ponds that teemed with life. A small non-descript water-bird caught my eye as I ran and I thought of this passage in the Gospel of Matthew: "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." All around me there was evidence of men and women reaping the grain that had been sown in the spring. Combines hummed in the distance; grain was being loaded into bins as farmers raced to beat the winter weather. There was a sense of urgency in the air. Yet, the small duck swam placidly in the slough and only briefly noticed my form running past. She was content in this puddle; and had all she needed.
For a moment I was jealous of this bird; for her life seemed so peaceful and easy. She practically lived in her own salad-bowl with abundant plant and insect life available in the pond. Then I thought of the rest of the passage: "Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew reminds us that God has a special plan for humans on this earth. We are more important to Him than the birds of the air. He cares so much about us that He has given us the task of sowing and reaping. We know the adage: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." God doesn't simply provide us with fish, He is teaching us to fish.
God knows that we would rather be given an abundance of food and the pleasures of life; but He has a better plan for us. He is building our souls and preparing us for a grateful life in a new heaven and a new earth where one day He will reign and we will rejoice in His will for our lives.
On the Tuesday following my run, the stock-market took a dive in North America and commentators were asked for explanations and advice. Another form of urgency was in the air. Experts asked each other about their "worry-meter," seeking to land on an appropriate level of concern for the markets. God's word goes on to say, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" The obvious answer is "no!" In fact, evidence suggests that worry is much more likely to shorten your life! God tells us, "do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear." The needle of our "worry-meter" is to be buried at zero. How? By trusting that we are valuable in God's sight. By trusting in His plan for the world. By trusting in His training for a new earth beyond this one. God loves little ducks but He does not train their souls. He is training our souls for a greater life.