Good Morning!Today is known in the church as "Fat Tuesday" – go out and eat pancakes somewhere! Pancakes are traditional because it was a way for people to use up sweets and goodies they had in the pantry in preparation for the Lent fast.
22 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?* 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;* yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, strive for his* kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
This is a continuation from the previous story – the man with his bigger barns had worried about his wealth, what to do with his abundance, but in the end it didn’t matter because his time had come. And so, Jesus goes on – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry”. The things we worry about most often are not the things we should worry about, if we should worry at all. Jesus says don’t worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. He says there are more important things than that in life. The birds do not have barns, much less bigger barns – but they are fed – God provides for them. And then Jesus says, “Of how much more value are you than birds!” You are of value to God — you matter to God!
Years ago, when I served at the Halifax Urban Ministry center for the homeless, someone had painted a mural on the wall showing people of all kinds, and around the mural was painted these words, “All people matter to God”. We must remember that, especially today! Evil is pressuring us to hate, to say “these lives don’t matter” or “those people don’t matter” or, they are saying it another way, “these lives matter because these are Christians”. God cares about all people! The murder of any of God’s people makes him grieve! God does not grieve any less if people are Muslim or Buddhist or even nature worshippers than he does for Christians. All people matter to God! And all lives are important!
Jesus says don’t worry about the things that are not important – consider the lilies of the field, the wildflowers – God clothes them. Our worrying is a sign of our little faith. For God knows that we need food and clothing. But these things should not be our first priority! Instead, we should strive first for the kingdom of God, and trust God in the other things.
Most of the time, when we worry, we are forgetting to trust God for the outcomes of the things we worry about. I know that is true for me! I was worried about beginning the new worship – but God was really in charge! And so – I know I need to lay aside the worrying, and let God be in charge.
(wildflowers among the rocks over Nazareth)