It’s kind of amazing when you do what Jesus says to do.  Imagine that.

A few weeks ago, I was really stressed out about some major financial decisions my wife and I had to make. Coincidentally, I was also in the middle of preparing to teach on Matthew 6:19-34. After breezing through where’s your treasure (6:19-21), how’s your vision (6:22-23), and whom do you serve (6:24), I had a head-on collision with Jesus’ words, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life…” (6:25).

But I was worried about my life. Reading on, Jesus said to, “Look at the birds of the air…” (6:26) and “Observe how the lilies of the field grow…” (6:28). Since my computer speaks Greek, in just a few clicks I discovered that “look” means “to consider fixedly; to look at with the mind; to discern clearly” and “observe” means to “to learn thoroughly; to examine carefully, to consider well.” Neither of these words had anything to do with a casual glance. And though I had read and even took comfort in these verses many times before, I had NEVER done what Jesus actually said to do.

The Spirit prompted me to get up and go outside to look and observe.

As it would happen, it was one of those rare spring mornings in Houston. Clear. Crisp. Gorgeous. And with paper and pen in hand, I spent well over an hour just looking at birds and observing flowers. Two very accessible things yet so common that I pretty much ignore them every day. Here’s what I wrote:

Birds – I had to look at them from a distance. They flew with great skill and ease. They were busy and worked hard as they gathered food and building materials. Sometimes they flew just because they could – soaring and free. They were joyful. They sang. They were full of life.

Flowers – I got to observe them up close. They were incredibly beautiful and diverse in both color and design. Amazingly intricate. Delicate. Textured. Seemingly woven. They flourished as they painted the landscape. Fully opened, they were joyfully pointing toward the sun…basking in its life-giving light.

Jesus seemed to say, “So what did you learn? Do they worry? Does not your heavenly Father care for them in amazing ways? Wouldn’t you like to be joyful again just like them? How much more does God love you? Do you trust Him?”

Jesus is showing all of us that worry is a symptom of a greater problem. It’s like a warning light that our eyes and our hearts are preoccupied with the wrong things. Our faith shrinks. Our fear grows. Worry is all about the future, but it chokes out the present.

There’s no denying that “each day has enough trouble of its own” (6:34). Indeed, flowers fade and birds fall, but “not apart from the will of your Father” (10:29-31). He is faithful! “Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7)!

A cure for worry? Jesus gives us the prescription: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (6:33).

Stop looking down and in. Start looking up and out.

Make the priority and focus of your life seeing God crowned with the glory and honor of which He alone is worthy. Our King has great treasure and He is more than willing to share it.

Note: the painting of the “Two Sparrows” was a gift from a dear friend, Jamie Vance, and its image is used with her blessing. Thank you Jamie for encouraging me to “look.”

© 2013 Tim McKenzie – 

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