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. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
Much of my time, energy, and thoughts are dedicated to our meals. Meal planning, couponing, grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, dishes; it’s a never-ending cycle. One that revolves around our son’s severe food allergies and my responsibility to keep him safe and healthy. In my mind there is a soundtrack of questions that is on repeat:
- What are we going to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner today?
- Have we been having enough variety?
- Is Mowgli getting the protein/fat/carbohydrates/vitamins/minerals he needs?
- Have we been meeting our recommended daily intake of fruit and veggies?
- Will I have enough time today to make that dish I had planned?
- If not, do I have enough leftovers for all of us?
- Is this new food I plan to serve something that may cause Mowgli a cross-reaction with one of his known allergies?
And on, and on, and on. Then through these questions comes a still, small voice gently admonishing me and asking it’s own question. “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’…Is not life more important than food?”
Oh, how my flesh wants to argue back! “Yes, Lord, of course it is. But I have to feed this kid something! If I don’t think about what we will eat, we won’t have anything to eat!” Boom! There are the lies. First off, God never said not to think about our meals. He said not to worry about them, not to obsess over them. That soundtrack in my head? It shouldn’t constantly be on repeat. Second, I am not the one ultimately responsible for providing our meals.
My struggle in this area reminds me of the story of Martha in Luke 10:38-42. For a long time I didn’t understand it. To be frank, I have always sympathized with Martha. I mean, there she was with all of those guests in her home. It was her responsibility to make them feel welcome and comfortable. I imagine she would have loved to sit and listen at Jesus’ feet like Mary. But if she did, there wouldn’t be anything for them all to eat! Aaannnddd…there’s the lie again.
Martha was not the one ultimately responsible for the well-being of her guests. JESUS was there. JESUS! The One who fed a group of five thousand people with one boy’s lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish (and had twelve baskets full of leftovers). HE was there in her home. And when she complained to Him about having to serve the guests by herself, He quickly got to the heart of the matter. He gently pointed out that she was worrying about all of the preparations even though she had Him there. Do you see it? She didn’t just miss an opportunity to spend time with Jesus and learn about Him. (Though that was significant in and of itself.) She missed Him! She didn’t recognize who He was. There was no need for her to worry because He, the Son of God, could easily have provided her guests’ physical needs.
Martha’s story teaches me that I have a choice. When the responsibilities that God has given me threaten to overwhelm me, I can choose to worry. I can attempt to do it all on my own. I can forget about His provision and listen to the lies. OR… I can choose to obey Jesus’ command in Mathew 6. I can listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I can choose to take my responsibilities to the One who is really in control, the One who provides my every need. After all, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the same God who fed the multitudes. And He still feeds the birds!