Read MATTHEW 6:31–34
In The Radical Pursuit of Rest: Escaping the Productivity Trap, John Koessler considers today’s passage: “We feel the weight of anxiety because we have placed our trust in the wrong thing. We depend on the means of production. Or we rely on the things that are produced. Jesus says all these things come from the hand of God. . . . [Worry] is the thinking of people who see themselves as orphaned. Such anxiety is the anguished cry of a soul that has forgotten it has a Father in heaven.”
In this sense, seeking God’s kingdom is supposed to be restful. Worry and anxiety, on the other hand, are stressful. Today’s passage begins with “So,” meaning “therefore” or “as a result.” Because worry is useless, and because God provides, we’re commanded not to worry (vv. 31, 34). We’re not to be obsessed or anxious about food and clothing, and by extension, material things or the future in general.
Two additional reasons are given for us to obey this sensible command (v. 32). First, worry characterizes pagans, not worshipers of God. Unbelievers do not have the security of a loving, all- powerful Father. They spend their lives depending on themselves and chasing lesser things. We should act differently. Second, God already knows what we need. Worrying is a kind of behavior that acts as if He didn’t—which, when you think about it, is (again) ridiculous.
What should we do rather than worry? Jesus says there is something worth being obsessed about: the kingdom of heaven (v. 33). We’re commanded to seek it above all else. This means to strive for the rule or reign of God in our lives and communities (Matt. 6:10). Along with that, we’re to seek “his righteousness,” meaning we’re to strive to live the righteous life God desires. “His kingdom and his righteousness” go hand in hand!
APPLY THE WORD
The Radical Pursuit of Rest, by Moody professor and Today in the Word contributing editor John Koessler, offers wonderful guidance for those who desire God’s kingdom and want to take to heart Jesus’ words: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28, 30).