Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Is it just me who has struggled with this passage? What are you saying, Jesus? For me, the last several years have been very stressful financially. In this world, you have to work to survive. You not only have to work, you have to produce. I went into sales in 1986. I haven’t had a 100% salary job since then. I went on 100% commission in 1997. That was the last time I had a salary. I cashed my last commission check in 2004. I have been on my own since then. Every year I’ve wondered if I could keep it up for one more.
This world is a grind. I can’t sit back and wait for God to clothe and feed me. I might be more precious than the sparrow, but the sparrow eats worms. The sparrow doesn’t have a mortgage and a wife and a daughter who still needs college tuition. I’ve always been spiritually minded. I’d love to be able to seek the kingdom of heaven full time. But, kingdom seeking doesn’t pay all that well. Grinding is required to keep this body in this world.
The last several years of the business have been even more of a grind. It feels like I’m running in place. Like Egypt in Joseph’s dream, we had years of plenty now being followed by years of lean. Fortunately, we put a lot away. No matter what I do I can’t seem to break through to that next level. Things break. The refrigerator stops working. The car needs new brakes. The furnace is 18 years old. Will it make it another year? It probably won’t. They told me three years ago it was in its last year.
I was talking with a bereaved mother a couple of days ago and we were talking about how we find ourselves in this in-between place often feeling more a part of the next world than this world. This body is a drag. I spend most of my energy and time taking care of it. My worries aren’t about spiritual things, the important things, the things of permanence. My worries are, in spite of Jesus’ words, what will I eat, what will I drink, how will I clothe myself? How do I make this business last until Tywana and I are ready to retire? How do I leave her with enough money? I’d like to do “spiritual” things all day- long walks, meditation, writing, encouraging others, working out. But, there are only so many hours in the day and taxes are due, as my accountant keeps reminding me. Every time I think about taxes, I’d rather die than face doing them again.
Oh well, I do have enough to eat for today. I’ve got clothes to wear. The mortgage is paid. The tuition is taken care of. I’m seeking the Kingdom. So, maybe all these things have been added to me and I just need to take Jesus’ advice and stop thinking about tomorrow. After all, he did go on to say:
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.