This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes?
[This is a continuation of Jesus’ teaching about materialism and worrying. He is explaining to his disciples how they can be “more faithful than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees in doing what God requires.” (See Day 23)].
We have needs. If we don’t eat and drink we die. It’s a fact. And clothes aren’t just a vanity. If we don’t have a set of clothing we risk die of exposure from the sun or the cold. We have certain undeniable material needs.
Even though we need these things, Jesus tells his disciples not to expend any excess mental or emotional energy on them. He says that God gave everyone the precious gifts of life and body. Rather than worrying about we are going to maintain these things, Jesus invites us to have a greater sense of appreciation about the gifts themselves. He says that when we start worrying about our basic needs, we should discipline ourselves to turn it into praise for God and his creation.
Don’t worry about food and drink; give thanks to God for the miracle of life. Don’t worry about your next set of clothing; give thanks to God for the wonder of your body. Have a little faith! If he can create a life, he can come up with enough food and drink to maintain it, just like he provided for the Hebrews when they were wandering in the wilderness. Fresh manna every day. Water out of rocks. God has a long history of miraculous provision for those who trust in him, so it’s wise to follow Jesus’ advice and turn that worry into praise.
Psalms are full of praise and trust. If you feel afraid or down you can always find a Psalm to lift you up. They are a great way to “get your praise on.”
Sovereign Lord, I put my hope in you;
I have trusted in you since I was young.
I have relied on you all my life;
You have protected me since the day I was born.
I will always praise you. (Psalm 71:5-6)
Here’s another one (Psalm 103:1-5)
Praise the Lord, my soul! All my being, praise his holy name!
Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He keeps me from the grave and blesses me with love and mercy.
He fills my life with good things, so that I stay young and strong like an eagle.
One thing I learned in Chicago is the important role of praise in maintaining your spiritual and mental health. Like Pr. Maceo Woods, founder of Christian Tabernacle Church in Chicago used to say, “Take your eyes off your problems and put them on God’s promises.” I’m never closer to God than when I am walking by faith and not by sight. When things get tough the best thing to do is to start my own little praise party. It’s all in God’s hands anyway.
Gospel Praise Break: I Put it All in His Hands (Florida Mass Choir)
Lyrics: “I put it all in his hands. All of my burdens and problems – God accepts them. No matter how great or small he’s the master of it all. This and that, I put it all in his hands!”
What does this scripture say to you?