Ravens, sparrows, doves (pigeons)…………..Jesus keeps referring to these less than colorful fowl. Why? Romans 1:20 gives us the answer: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
The lesson here is about a fear every one of us have experienced: W-O-R-R-Y! We worry about what are we going to have for dinner, how are we going to pay the power bill, who is going to get the children from daycare today, where am I going to college or work or live, when can I retire, will the chemotherapy treatments and radiation shrink the tumor, and the list goes on and on and on and on…………….
Jesus admonishes us to STOP WORRYING! He knows when the sparrow falls, he feeds and clothes the ravens. He Himself never worried about storms, multitudes of needs, or what people thought of Him. He says, worry gets you NOTHING! It does not add one minute to your life. In fact, if worry doesn’t add to your life expectancy, why worry at all? (vs 25)
I fret. I acknowledge this is not a news flash to anyone who knows me well. I have stewed over circumstances for years and can attest it has changed nothing, nada, zip! I have sent my entire family running for cover from my obsessing over things I could not control (like other people, the weather, is a meteor really going to hit earth). In worrying, I am in effect saying to the LORD of the universe I do not TRUST Him to take care of me and all I hold dear. Even as I type these words the conviction of this is overwhelming. How pompous, arrogant, mindless and self righteous of me. He takes care of the entire universe right down to the sparrow and raven and He calls man (you and me) His prized possession, His highest creation, and worthy of dying for. Who do I think I am? (Sigh)
TAKE NO THOUGHT does not mean wander through life aimlessly in a mental fog or delusional state and without consideration or seeking counsel but it means fear not the details of what sustains life: food, clothes, relationships, housing. We have a Heavenly Father who cares for His creation and sustains it by His divine provision. He IS Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides. We are of more value in the sight of God than the birds. (Matthew 6:26) Worry is irrelevant, irreverent, and irrational (thank you again, C.S. Lewis and Max Lucado). This is some spiritual food to digest today.
As believers, we see our brothers and sisters around the world who have so much less than we do and we presume God has forgotten them. He has not! He has given to us and there is enough to go around. The question is will I share and be a conduit of His love? My sister posted this on her FB page recently:
When God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of giving.
He made us keepers of the Garden. He told Peter to “feed my sheep.”
Make me a channel of blessing LORD! The Lord just brought to mind the story of the raven who fed Elijah; a bird was a channel of God’s blessing!
I Kings 17:8-16
Commentary by Matthew Henry
“God wonderfully suits men to the work he designs them for. The times were fit for an Elijah; Elijah was fit for them. The Spirit of the Lord knows how to fit men for the occasions. Elijah let Ahab know that God was displeased with the idolaters, and would chastise them by the want of rain, which it was not in the power of the gods they served to bestow. Elijah was commanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful, we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring him meat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest (emphasis mine) creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijah seems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply of water, which came by common providence, failed; but the miraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failed not. If the heavens fail, the earth fails of course; such are all our creature-comforts: we lose them when we most need them, like brooks in summer. But there is a river which makes glad the city of God, that never runs dry, a well of water that springs up to eternal life. Lord, give us that living water!”
Two lessons for the price of one today. Let’s “fear not!” Let us not worry. Let us Trust the Lord, with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, Let us in all our ways acknowledge Him and let Him direct our path. This is Peace that passes understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:7)