Are you trusting God to take care of your basic needs?
This Scripture based article is contributed by guest blogger Tyler Brooks. You can read more of his writings on his personal blog, tylerjbrooks.com, where he shares about leading, loving and learning.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:24-27 (NIV)
I have been watching a lot of nature documentaries lately to help me fall asleep at night. Although I find them interesting, I usually end up with heavy eyes as the sound of the narrator’s ongoing monologue lulls me to sleep.
However, I have stayed alert long enough to become intrigued by some of the content. In particular, the variety of birds that are highlighted in these programs is incredible.
One bird species flocks to a rocky cliff face on a remote island once a year to mate and hatch their young. They are in constant danger from predators, as well as the thousands of others like themselves who are trying to survive on a rock in the ocean with very little food supply.
In other parts of the world, there are penguins living in sub-freezing temperatures on top of glaciers, as well as varieties of small birds who ride on the backs of ostriches to eat the bugs stirred up while they run. There are hummingbirds, vultures, hawks, eagles, various birds of prey and birds who are always prey.
In every part of the world there are birds surviving and thriving in some unbelievable circumstances.
Observing Creation Leads Me to the Creator
My response to observing the incredible ability to survive that birds possess is nothing short of awe and wonder. At first it seems unbelievable–or at least highly unlikely–that any creature could sustain itself and its offspring in such harsh environments. But then I remember who created them.
Our incredibly generous Creator has given is our example of generosity.
Every time I watch one of these documentaries and they talk about birds, I am reminded of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew:
Consider the birds of the sky, that they do not sow or reap or gather produce into barns, and your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? – Matthew 6:26
To think that the infinite God of the Universe actually cares about birds blows my mind. Of course he created them, but the idea that he continually provides for their needs is amazing.
Jesus points out that God provides for these creatures even though they don’t know how to plant or harvest crops, or even store up food for themselves. He helps them even when they cannot help themselves.
Jesus uses this illustration to prove his point that his followers are worth quite a lot to God. He will provide for their needs. He will take care of them in ways they cannot care for themselves. This talk of birds and God’s providence comes right after Jesus says that we cannot serve both God and money (see Matthew 6:24).
This is important because Jesus stresses that undivided loyalty to God over and above everyone and everything else in life is paramount to a meaningful relationship with Him.
Then he immediately addresses the doubt and fear he knows exists in the hearts of his listeners. Serving God and serving money are mutually exclusive, you can serve only one or the other. So if you’re serving God then it makes no sense to worry yourself about money or all the things it can buy.
If we claim to follow Jesus, we must decide who we will serve–God or something else? That decision forces us to look at who God is (or who we believe him to be) and who we are in relation to God.
Ultimately, the questions we ask ourselves will determine the decision we make in choosing who we really serve.
Consider Who You’re Serving
Ask yourself the following three questions and consider who you are serving.
#1: Is God trustworthy?
Most people will answer this question with a quick “yes” but I challenge you to consider it deeper. Look at how you work, how you spend your time and money, and where you actually place your hope.
Is God worthy of trust and, more importantly, is he worthy of your trust?
#2: Am I worth loving?
This question may not be so easily answered.
Maybe you believe that God is good and holy and loving. You believe that he offers love and forgiveness, but only to other people. You may be getting hung up on your own sins and failures, letting them get in the way of your own acceptance of God’s love and forgiveness. Are you worth it?
Ask Jesus this question directly, because his answer is the one that matters most.
#3: Who is really in control of my life?
This is a question I get hung up on often.
As we go through life, it seems as if we are in control of everything, or at least most of the big things. We decide who to marry, what job to take, and where to live. We have the freedom to make so many decisions in our lives that we typically fool ourselves into believing that we are ultimately in control.
Suddenly one cancer diagnosis, car accident or an unexpected loss of a loved one slams the brakes on our sense of control. For a moment we stop to reflect on the brevity and uncertainty of life; we come face-to-face with our lack of power in a seemingly hopeless situation.
All too often though, we allow the passing of time to once again numb our senses to our lack of control. But God is in control all the time; He is sovereign over our lives, the lives of our families, and all of human history.
The Final Question
Jesus said if God takes care of birds, he will certainly take care of his children whom he loves. If God is trustworthy, you are worth loving, and God is in control of your life. Then the final question you need to be asking is not “will God come through for me?” but “do I really trust Him?”
Who you trust is who you serve, whether that is God, money, or something else.
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