When I was a teenager I was very small and looked incredibly young for my age. On one occasion,when I boarded a bus and asked the driver the price of the fare, he replied, ‘For you sonny, a penny!!’ I was mortified because I was old enough to pay full price and wanted to do so. But all my worrying about my height didn’t change a thing (25). I couldn’t add a ‘single cubit’ to my stature, as this verse can read, by fretting. My dear Uncle Alf used to say to me, ‘Don’t worry, you will grow.’ He didn’t promise me I’d be tall, but he did know I would be taller, and he was right. But worry didn’t achieve that.
In the last reading we began to think about what being ‘rich toward God’ (22) will look like. It brought us into contact with the very challenging issue of Christian stewardship. What is my attitude with regard to my stuff? Here are some further insights. A life that is ‘rich toward God’ is:
a.) A committed life (31). It has at its core a dedicated priority – the Kingdom of God. It has decided that God will always come first. With that decision firmly settled it can therefore also be:
b.) A trusting life (22-30). And a trusting life is anxiety-free. If we become ‘bird watchers’ and observers of nature, we will see that the Heavenly Father takes care of even the most insignificant creatures. I’m sure you will see the ‘how much more’ arguments going on here (24, 28). These are arguments from the lesser to the greater. As someone put it, we must not think that God cares more for His aviary and His garden than He does for His kids! Jesus was not advocating a lazy outlook on life. He wasn’t saying that we are not to work or be provident. The Bible, as a whole, is in favour of these things. But He was saying that in a life where God comes first we can, as a general principle,expect legitimate needs ( not greeds) to be met. (Someone said that God is prepared to take full responsibility for the life that is wholly yielded to Him.) Worry is totally unproductive, as (25) shows – whichever way we take it, it adds up to that essential point. It doesn’t get you anywhere good. Worry will not add years to your life ( but some think excessive worry could shorten it.) The Lord wants us to live at rest (Matthew 11:25-30), in attitude of relaxed confidence in Him. We can if we put Him first. I will now add a third thing about a life ‘rich toward God’. It will be:
c.) A generous life (32-34). The details of this will probably work out differently from person to person, but a life that is God -focussed first and foremost, will also be other people- focussed. We will take account of needs and want to give and share.
Such a committed, trusting, generous lifestyle is a hallmark of Kingdom people.
Prayer: Lord help me to live this kind of life – the life you desire for all your people.