“So I tell you, don’t worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes…
And why do you worry about clothes? Look at how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that even Solomon with his riches was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today but tomorrow is thrown into the fire. So you can be even more sure that God will clothe you. Don’t have so little faith!
Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” Matthew 6:25;28-33 (New Century Version)
I know, I know… You’ve heard this text before. MANY times, perhaps. Maybe so many times that you’ve become desensitized to what Jesus is really trying to say, to you.
Most of the texts we will read during our Literal 4 Lent (L4L) experiment are going to be familiar. In order to give the Spirit of God every opportunity to dwell richly in us through these often-heard words, I’m going to ask that you develop the habit of reading each text at least two times before considering my commentary and The APP (application) for the day. So, go back. Re-read today’s text. Ask God to reveal through these words of Jesus His living, active, teaching Spirit. Ask Him for a receptive heart.
Worry is as natural to me as breathing, so this text has always stirred in me a range of emotions, including plenty of guilt. Lately, though, I’ve come to the long-awaited conclusion that guilt is not the way of Jesus. I see nothing in scripture that leads me to believe that Jesus teaches us by laying on the guilt. So, to hear this passage afresh today, I have to let go of my feelings of guilt (about how I’ve failed to live this Word of Jesus) and let God take me to a brand new understanding of what ‘No Worries!’ looks like to this aspiring follower of the Way of Christ.
Which leads me to admit that I’ve never really ‘worried’ about having clothes to wear. I have LOTS of clothes! Many of which were Goodwill finds, but the point is that my step-in closet is loaded with shirts and jeans and jackets and dresses, probably to the point of excess by anyone’s standards.
Having never been in need, then, for clothing to put on, this part of the text has often escaped my notice. I’ve honestly always felt that this text didn’t apply to me, because I have more than enough in the way of clothes. I was wrong.
While I may not suffer for lack of clothing, I’m pretty sure I do suffer from anxiety about what to wear – because of all of the choices I have. Just last week I found myself running late (more than once) because of my self-consciousness and inability to make up my mind about what to wear.
TOO MANY CHOICES can lead to worry, too – not just lack.
This revelation changes everything for me, in light of Jesus’ words. I’m seriously moved to do something about it today – on Day One of Literal 4 Lent.
How are we to take Jesus’ ‘No Worries!’ text and put it into practice in real life? I am compelled strongly to respond in a big way today… but you may not like it very much.
I spent a week traveling last Spring, living out of a carry-on with a limited number of clothing choices for each day, and it was WONDERFUL! Getting ready in the morning was painless and quick, leaving both time and energy for whatever might come my way.
What would it look like for me to limit my choices every day during Lent? Instead of choosing from hundreds of shirts and dozens of pants in the morning, what if I chose to live out of a suitcase for 40 days?
The body is more than clothes, right? And Jesus does say “don’t worry and say… ‘what will we wear?’”
What if He meant what He said? What if Jesus really does want us to stop thinking about our clothes, long enough at least to start thinking about His Kingdom and what matters to HIM?
I have no idea what will happen, but today I choose to be Literal for Lent, adopting a ‘No Worries!’ mantra for the next 40 days. My personal APP is to choose 7 tops and 7 bottoms to be worn for the 40 days of Lent – not quite living out of a suitcase, but you get the idea. It took more than a few minutes to make my choices, but I’m eager to see what happens each day as a result of my abbreviated options! [Be grace-full, please, if you bump into me more than once during Lent and notice my counter-cultural lack of clothing variety!]
Will you do this with me? Or something like it?
Chances are that you’re like me, wasting precious time while lost in the throes of decision-making as a result not of lack, but of excess.
Pay attention to what you seek first today, and if it isn’t God, well… it’s time to do something about that. Literally.