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 of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27
What would it look like to really have confidence in Jesus’ promise that God watches over us, providing for our needs? Nowhere in the scriptural witness is there any indication that we need to justify our own existence. The whole of the cosmos, down to my silly little life, is a pure gift. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks – and God’s heart is nothing if not abundant. The word of the Lord is joy and peace and fullness of life. The Spirit blows where it will; and the trees grow.
More often than I would care to admit, I am like those that Jeremiah railed against, who trusted in their own anxious ways rather than in God’s selfless giving. Instead of putting my faith in the spring of living water, I build my own broken cisterns that cannot hold water. I fool myself into believing that I can make myself secure by saving up enough of God’s goodness so that I will never have to be vulnerable again. Jesus tells me to wait on the Lord day by day for the things I need – but I want guarantees!
One stumbling block is my own future orientation. His promise is here now, but I want to know what is going to happen six months from now, a decade from now. Seriously, Jesus: What does your retirement plan look like? I want details.
The root of my refusal to trust in God’s abundant love and care is my own need to control. Truth be told, I want more than my daily bread. I want barns and cisterns – insurance and retirement plans. I want to feel like I am in charge of my life. I want to be the one behind the wheel.