Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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

26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven,will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

therefore (v.25) — referring back to “you cannot serve God and mammon” in v.24.

stature (v.27) = age, length of life — so the phrase “add one cubit unto his stature” is an idiomatic term for lengthening one’s life

toil (v.28) — the man’s work of growing flax

spin (v.28) — the woman’s work of weaving flax

oven (v.30) — in that culture, grass was used for fuel

Toward superabundance, as we have seen [in vs. 19-24], they are to be without covetousness. We will now consider their attitude towards necessary things, which is, that they are to be without care. — Morgan, page 67.

All of my commentaries (except Stam, below) attempted to apply these verses to Christians today. They universally ignore the simple fact that the Lord does not always supply the necessities to Christians today. Believers suffer, get sick, starve, and die at the same rate that non-believers do.

Some commentaries tried to twist what the Lord said to mean that we should work to provide ourselves with the necessities, but we shouldn’t worry about them.

Not one of them mentioned the fact that the Lord, in verse 32, contrasts His listeners with the Gentiles. And yes, at that point in time, to be a Gentile was to be a non-believer, but the Lord’s use of the term also demonstrates that this passage doesn’t apply to us today.

So to whom does it apply? To believing Jews of that day (and during the Tribulation — Matthew 24:15-18). It was only a short time later, when the Lord sent His apostles out to witness about the kingdom that He told them: Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food (Matthew 10:9-10). For that group of people, at that point in time, the Lord miraculously provided all their needs.  Keep in mind that in Acts, Paul had to collect money from the Gentile churches to feed the starving, believing Jews in Jerusalem. The Lord wasn’t providing their material needs then because the kingdom had been postponed.

Today we find ourselves in a situation where it would be dangerous and wrong to follow our Lords’ instructions to refrain from laying up store for the future. Rather we must now again heed the Scripture which says: Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise … [She] provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest (Proverbs 6:6-8).

That this last should be our mode of life during “this present evil age,” is clear from the Spirit-inspired words of the apostle Paul, who wrote to the Thessalonians: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

And it was on the authority of the glorified Lord that the apostle wrote to Timothy: But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8). — Stam, pages 75-76.

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