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? 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? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. — Matt. 6:25-34
What is the basis of your life?
That seems to be the question that undergirds Jesus’ teaching on anxiety and worry here. Jesus addresses our tendency to define ourselves on the basis of our needs: what we eat, what we drink, what we wear. Life is more than these, He says. Pointing to the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, Jesus adamantly states that if God provides for these, He will much more abundantly provide for the humanity that bears His image.
You are more, He says.
Because you are more, you are free to pursue higher and loftier goals. Rather than fixating on base need, Jesus teaches us to aspire for the Kingdom of God. When he says “seek first the kingdom,” He isn’t speaking of chronology. It’s not as if we’re free to pursue material indulgence after we’ve sufficiently sought after God’s Kingdom for a period of time. Instead, Jesus is showing us that our hearts only have capacity for one ultimate priority.
Purity of heart is to will one thing.
And for Jesus, that one thing is the Kingdom of God.
So what is His antidote to the worry and anxiety and stress that so often plagues us?
Seek above all else the Kingdom of God.
Passionately pursue His righteousness with single-minded devotion.
And all of these other things — that which you are more than — will be added unto you by His gracious hand.
This is life in God’s Kingdom reign.