Recently, I have been asking myself, what were the things that gave me the greatest joy as a kid. My answers include play, especially playing in the rain; and food, meaty, spicy, salty, sweet; and my mother’s storytelling. Where has all of it gone – that joyful and optimistic outlook to life – where has it gone?
Like weeds overtaking a beautiful garden, the cares of life, have somehow overtaking the joyful outlook of childhood. Innocent play has been replaced by envious competition and fear of consequences. Money problems have robbed us of food joy, and my mother’s stories have followed her to the grave – a belly that is never satisfied.
Jesus responds to concerns like these in Matthew 6:25-34 (The Message Bible):
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion… Look at the birds… not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch… Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers… don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving…
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
May these words of Jesus strengthen and comfort us every day, Amen!