These are difficult times. We all know people who have lost their jobs because of the downturn in the economy… many of whom have been able to find any suitable replacement for the income they lost. Worry seems to rule the day. "Where will the next house payment come from?", "How will we buy groceries?", "Where is provision going to come from?" This isn't about wants… or luxuries. This is about need… about daily bread. From this text it seems like daily bread was a big source of worry for those living in Jesus' time as well. This is how Jesus responds. He says, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?" (v.27)
I think reading a text like this one can be either a source of great hope or a source of added frustration and worry. On the one hand, the text reminds us that God provides even for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air… they don' have to worry, which means he will certainly provide for our needs as well. This certainly an encouraging promise, but for someone in who has just lost their job… one whose severance is running out… one who has no positive leads for new employment… I can see how it might feel like just empty words. "How God are you planning to provide? It felt like you were providing through my job, but now that is gone! Is your provision just going to fall from the sky?"
Here's what I believe. God never makes a promise that he doesn't intend to keep. It's just not in his nature. That being said, it still doesn't answer the, "how?" question. But looking at verse 33…after he assures us that our heavenly Father knows what we need… and that he's got us covered, and that we don't need to run after the things we need in a tizzy like the pagans do… he says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." The kingdom of God is a place where all of our needs are met… a place or reality where worry doesn't exist. Going back to how Jesus teaches us to pray, we pray, "your kingdom come…" into this world. May it be, "on earth as it is in heaven." Now, it seems to me that the Church is intended to be one of the primary expressions of this "kingdom come" on earth… or maybe I could say it like this; the Church is intended to be one of the ways that the kingdom of God is becoming reality in the here and now. So verse 33 then becomes not only instruction for the one seeking relief from worry about daily bread, but it also serves as a call to the Church to be kingdom bearing people. When our brothers and sisters are in need, one of the ways that God provides daily bread is through you and me. God intends to keep his promise to provide and one of the ways he intends to do it is through his body… the Church.
Jesus, thank you for providing me daily bread. Help me to join with you in bringing you kingdom here on earth.