Lesson 103—February 28, 2016
The Price of Worry
Scripture: Matthew 6:26-29
Lesson Goal: To better understand how worry not only affects our own lives but challenges the very trustworthiness of God Himself.
Introduction: Today we continue building upon last week’s lesson, “The Worth of Worry.” We find that worry is of no value to the follower of Jesus Christ. We have learned that dependence upon God and a true trust of God will prevent us from worrying. In today’s Scripture, Jesus further expands the idea that, as His followers, we should not worry. He begins with an object lesson from the creative order of God.
(V26) “Look at the birds of the air.”
It is very possible that Jesus literally called his listeners’ attention to some passing birds. There are various and numerous kinds of birds in Northern Galilee. Jesus’ emphasis, based upon His example, is the fact of God’s provision.
The phrase “look at” means more than just a glance. It means “to consider” or “to give thought to.” Truly think about how God has given provision to the birds of the air. As you observe a bird in flight, think about God’s provision for the simplest of His creation. For the birds aren’t created in His image or recreated through the transforming power of Jesus Christ. God makes provision for the birds of the air, but His eternal promises are made to men (His children).
Said the robin to the sparrow,
“I should really like to know,
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the sparrow to the robin, “Friend I think that it must be, That they have no Heavenly Father, Such as cares for you and me.”
We may smile, or even chuckle, at the lines of this simple poem, but could it be an accurate assessment and reflection of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:25-34?
Even as I write this lesson, God’s Spirit reminds me of the fact that I miss so many of the simple, yet wonderful lessons God desires to teach me daily.
How long has it been since you paused to watch a bird in flight? Have you ever paused in your busy, hurried life to listen to a bird’s song as he perches on a power line? Have you ever stopped to notice the bright red cardinals sitting in a cedar tree? For me personally, this scene is even better than a Hallmark Christmas card. Have you ever stopped to watch a flock of Canada Geese in flight and to listen to their honk as they communicate with one another? Have you ever watched the tiny hummingbird beating his wings at what appears to be super turbo speed while fluttering near the freshly blooming honeysuckle? Have you ever witnessed the strength of the red-tailed hawk in flight or been frightened by the sudden and unexpected hoot of a barn owl? Have you ever witnessed the bold strut of a wild turkey or seen the majestic soar of a golden eagle? Each of these and thousands of others serve as our teachers of the divine hand of our Creator.
Martin Luther wrote these words generations ago:
He is making the birds our schoolmasters and teachers. It is a great and abiding disgrace to us that in the Gospel, a helpless sparrow should become a theologian and a preacher to the wisest of men. Whenever you listen to a nightingale, therefore, you are listening to an excellent preacher…. It is as if it were saying, “I prefer to be in the Lord’s kitchen. He has made heaven and earth, and He Himself is the cook and the host. Every day He feeds and nourishes innumerable little birds of his hand.”
As we observe God’s care for His creatures, how much more should we see His provision for His children?
I must again remind all the readers of today’s lesson that Scripture teaches us of the provision of God. Jesus uses examples of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field to remind us of God’s touch and provision. However, as we study these verses, we should completely understand the truth of God’s provision offered to us in the Scripture. As we understand this truth of God’s provision, we understand that God has ordained work for those who can work as a blessing of His provision for our lives. God has chosen not to feed most of us as He did Elijah by means of angels and ravens. He has ordained and blessed us to be able to work to provide the basic provisions for our lives.
Another very important truth for us is the biblical principle that I call “where much is given, much is expected.” As followers of Jesus Christ, blessed and graced of God, we should always remember our responsibility and privilege to reach out to others who struggle with the basic ingredients of life, such as food, water, clothing and shelter. God’s divine design often is to use us (followers of Jesus Christ) to be His agents to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
How much are we using the vast blessings or God’s provision in our lives to help others?
What are some ways that we can honor God by being His instruments or agents to help others be blessed by His provisions?
The Truth of Senseless Worry
(V27) What can worry accomplish? What benefit is there to worry in a believer’s life?
True, the value and benefit of worry is zero, but what are some results of worry?
Can you list some possible results of worry in a person’s life?
The question posed by Jesus in verse 27 gives us two distinct but similar thoughts.
One interpretation renders this verse to mean “height.” Who can add length to his body, become taller by worry?
“Stature” is rendered and interpreted to be “age,” thus, can we add to our allotted lifespan by worrying or being anxious about it?
In your lifetime, what has worry done for you?
What has worry cost you?
Dr. Charles Mayo writes: “Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands and the whole nervous system. I have never met a man or known a man to die of overwork, but I have known a lot who died of worry.”
(V28) In this example and illustration, Jesus directs His listeners’ attention to the beauty of the lilies of the field. These lilies were beautiful, gorgeous wildflowers that bloomed in cultivated gardens of Galilee, as well as in the fields and uncultivated hillsides of Palestine. If the creator, with His special and delicate touch, can so make the beauty of this lowly flower, then should we as His children be able to trust Him for our needs of life.
(V29) Jesus compares the splendor and glory of the lilies of the field with the glory of Solomon.
Most of us, me included, have rarely taken the time to see the wonderful beauty and detail God gives to flowers. Jesus tells us that King Solomon, in all his clothed splendor, could not compare to these flowers fashioned by the hand of God.
John MacArthur writes:
It is an indictment of our day that we spend so much time, money, and effort to dress ourselves. Lusting after costly, stylish clothes is sinful because its only purpose is to feed pride. Many people have made a god out of fashion and shamelessly waste money on expensive clothes they will wear but a few times. But if God bothers to array the grass of the field with beautiful but short-lived flowers, how much more is He concerned to clothe and care for His very own children who are destined for eternal life?
Worry ultimately shows our lack of faith.
Worry ultimately strikes at the trustworthiness of God.
Worry ultimately is a tool satan uses to bring doubt and defeat into our lives.
Worry ultimately is used by satan to push God out of our minds.
Please read Ephesians 1:18-19.