Matthew 6:25-34

6.25 Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν· μὴ μεριμνᾶτε τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν τί φάγητε [ἢ τί πίητε], μηδὲ τῷ σώματι ὑμῶν τί ἐνδύσησθε. οὐχὶ ἡ ψυχὴ πλεῖόν ἐστιν τῆς τροφῆς καὶ τὸ σῶμα τοῦ ἐνδύματος; 6.26 ἐμβλέψατε εἰς πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν εἰς ἀποθήκας, καὶ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά· οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν; 6.27 τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθείναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα; 6.28 καὶ περὶ ἐνδύματος τί μεριμνᾶτε; καταμάθετε τὰ κρίνα τοῦ ἀγροῦ, πῶς αὐξάνουσιν· οὐ κοπιῶσιν οὐδὲ νήθουσιν· 6.29 λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδὲ Σολομὼν ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ περιεβάλετο ὡς ἕν τούτων. 6.30 εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀργοῦ σήμερον ὄντα καὶ αὔριον εἰς κλίβανον βαλλόμενον ὁ θεὸς οὕτως ἀμφιέννυσιν, οὐ πολλῷ μᾶλλον ὑμᾶς, ὀλιγόπιστοι; 6.31 μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε λέγοντες· τί φάγωμεν; ἤ· τί πίωμεν; ἤ· τί περιβαλώμεθα; 6.32 πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπιζητοῦσιν· οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος ὅτι χρῄζετε τούτων ἁπάντων. 6.33 ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν καὶ τὴν δικαισύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. 6.34 μὴ οὖν μεριμνήσητε εἰς τὴν αὔριον, ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει ἑαυτῆς· ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἡ κακία αὐτῆς.

6.25 So I say to you: Do not be anxious in regard to your life – what you may eat [or what you may drink], nor for your body – what you may put on. Is life not more than the food and the body more than clothing? 6.26 Consider the birds of heaven, that they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them; aren’t you of greater value than them? 6.27 And which one of you is able to add one cubit to his height by being anxious? 6.28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Take a hard look at the lilies of the field, how they grow; they don’t labor nor do they spin; 6.29 But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of them. 6.30 But if God in this way clothes the grass of the field which thrives one day and is thrown in the furnace the next, won’t he clothe you even better, men of little-faith? 6.31 Therefore, don’t be anxious and say: “What may we eat?” or, “What may we drink?” or “What may we put on?” 6.32 For all these things the nations search for. For your heavenly Father knows that you are in need of all these things. 6.33 But first seek his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 6.34 Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious of itself. The evil of the day is enough on its own.

In verse 24, Jesus left his hearers thinking about the difference between seeking God and seeking wealth. And though these words ought to strike home to us, among the wealthiest of the Earth’s inhabitants, to many of his hearers the idea of “serving” money may have seemed well beyond their reach. Jesus was ready to reach out and make his point clear to them as well.

Serving money doesn’t just mean being wealthy and wanting to hold on to it. It can also be being envious or desirous of money. Or even simply anxious out of a lack of trust. Jesus calls us to trust him with the simple things that are the necessities of life: food, drink, clothing. When we do not trust him in these things, we call him a liar.

In verse 25, the phrase Διὰ τοῦτο is “Through this,” or, “On account of what I just said…” Because we cannot serve two masters, Jesus tells us not to be anxious. Apparently, in his view, being anxious about our needs is an indication of serving something other than God! Likely, we will all agree with him that life is more than just eating, drinking and clothing ourselves. Rather than spending all our thoughts and energy scheming on food and drink – maybe we should put thought to something else.

So a little distraction from the passage itself. What ought we to set our hearts on? A few things come to mind immediately. Prayer is one. Study of his word is another. But beyond the “spiritual” disciplines, how about friendly conversation? We need that, both ourselves, and our friends. Part of this life is conversation that lifts up God and builds deep bonds between people. And art, beauty, “whatever is lovely.” It is no mistake that God’s creation is moved by brilliant colors, the moving wind, the perfect phrase, a sharp pattern, a skillful stroke or a life-like portrayal. Art is a form of worship and celebration of the original creator; or at least it can be.

Man reduced to subsistence alone is a shallow rendition of God’s intent. So read a book. Go to the museum. Walk in the garden. Pet a dog. Serve a neighbor. Share what God has done for you with a friend. All of this is “living”. Enough of my digression.

Verse 26 begins with a command, “look” or “consider.” In view by Jesus are the birds of the air, fed by God, dependent on him for sustenance. Verse 28 includes a different word often translated “consider.” It means to think on deeply or thoroughly consider, rather than just view and let ones mind wander to a conclusion. Jesus just points out the birds and asks them to imagine where they get their food. But with the lilies, he asks them to get close and marvel at the wonder and intricacy of the creation, how far God’s provision excels that of even a rich and wise king. Doubting God and falling into the pit of constant worry and concern over temporary things is like a slap in His face. Because he longs to meet our needs and will do so with all his power when our hearts are set right.

Between verse 27 and 33 is a nice parallel. Between talking about birds and grass, Jesus asks the gathered crowd if they can “add” to their height by being constantly mindful of or anxious about their needs. The answer is meant to be a definite “no.” In Verse 33, after quite plainly telling them to seek his kingdom and righteousness first, Jesus remarks that all the things they lack will “be added” to them. Same word (different form) in the Greek; προσθείναι versus προστεθήσεται. Maybe there is even a suggestion that this “adding to height” is like our “grow up big and strong.” Taken in this light, even the desire to live healthy is nothing to put anxious attention to. God is to be in charge of our physical growth and well-being. If we will focus on what he wants, he will take care for the rest.

In verse 34, Jesus ends noting that worry about the future, even the immediate future, is unwise. There is enough going on each day, as it is. You’ll get your opportunity to deal with tomorrow’s troubles tomorrow.

And if not, then aren’t you glad you didn’t waste an extra minute today worrying about things that you would never face?

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About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
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2 Responses to Matthew 6:25-34

  1. Nathan Stitt says:

    I was curious as to why you chose the word cubit in verse 27?

  2. George says:

    That’s what my interlinear has, to be honest. But in looking at blueletterbible.org, I find similar translation for the word πῆχυν.

    However, really looking at that word breathes a different light on that verse (a little). It’s easy to, not knowing what a cubit is, read “some small amount”. Who can make their height a little taller? But this is more like a foot-and-a-half. I doubt anyone would take credit for spontaneously growing that much be being anxious or deeply desiring it!

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