Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Imagine the parents of a 17 year old boy who spends most of his time playing video games sitting down to talk to their son saying, “Do not worry about food, or drink, or clothing. Look at the birds of the air, the flowers of the field… they’re doing just fine. Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow has enough worries of its own.” His response? “I’m not worried about tomorrow. Now can I play my game?”
One missionary considered Matthew 6:25-34 a cruel text to speak to the poor because they have to worry about where they are getting their next meal. Then he thought it should not be preached to the affluent because it could cause some to think that we shouldn’t worry about material needs but only spiritual ones, thereby justifying their inaction to help the poor.
Jesus’ audience was predominantly poor and indeed worried about where their next meal was coming from. And by no means is Jesus telling anyone not to be concerned about how others will eat. In fact, in context, quite the contrary! That concern is necessary! So what is Jesus saying? Why does He say not to worry about food, drink, or clothing? How does context effect our understanding?