In my Juggling Life’s Responsibilities book, I encourage my readers to look at Matthew 6:33, to discover what their top priority should be (page 20).
“For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32-33, NIV).
As a wife, mom, pastor’s wife, author, church member, and business owner (whew!!!), I am constantly looking at my time and trying to evaluate if I’m using it wisely. How do I know what to do first? How do I know what God’s will is for my time, my days, and my life?
I really do want to please Him! As much fun as it is to write, or make money, or teach women, or play with the kids, or whatever, I most of all want to get to the end of my days and know that my life brought glory and honor to God.
These verses tell me that the pagans run after many things. I looked up the word in this verse, and the Greek used the word ethnos, or one from the nations. A pagan is someone who worships a god other than Yehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel.
Notice that the pagans are running! Some days I feel like I’m running, chasing this or chasing that. I’m guessing, from this verse, that on those days I’m acting like a pagan.
“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
On the other hand, God says that if I’ll seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He’ll add to my life everything else. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? Doesn’t that simplify life?
If I go back and read all of Matthew 6:25-34, I find several things that God will handle for me if I’ll just seek first His kingdom and His righteousness:
God will take care of my life.
Yeshua said not to worry about what I’ll eat or what I’ll drink. I don’t think this means that I shouldn’t bother with trying to eat healthy food, since His Word tells me that He has provided all these things for my enjoyment and life. It just means that I shouldn’t be fretting about how I’m going to have time to prepare it all, how I’ll find the money to buy it, or how I’ll ever manage if I __ (fill in the blank).
This is incredibly practical to me, because these are the issues that really do affect me as a wife and mom! Rather than looking at cooking, eating, and other mundane, house-wifely jobs as drudgery and something to worry about, I need to remember that good food is for my enjoyment and is God’s responsibility to provide for me.
This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t expect me to work. In fact, God says that if I won’t work, I shouldn’t eat. In other words, if I’m shirking my responsibilities and stealing from others because I’m lazy, then God doesn’t promise to feed me. But worrying about how I’ll get it all done? Worrying about how I’ll pay for it all? Nope, that’s how the pagans run.
God will take care of my body.
Yeshua said not to worry about my body and what I will wear. I think, by extension, this means worrying about anything that could happen to my body and how I’ll protect it, just as clothes protect me from the elements. I think it also includes worrying about how to “keep up with the Joneses.”
With my children, I find it very easy to panic and worry about all the “what if’s” that could happen to them. What if they fell out of their bunk beds? What if they got hurt at the playground? What if they fell out of a tree? What if I do a terrible job homeschooling them and they grow up to be absolute idiots?
Again, this doesn’t mean that I shirk my responsibilities to care for others, for God’s Law even says to build a railing around my balconies so that no one will fall and get hurt. But worrying about what if’s that I can’t possibly control? Nope, that’s how the pagans run.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
God will take care of my future.
Yeshua said that the birds of the air “do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (Matthew 6:26). Yes, birds work, but no, they don’t worry about harvest time, whether the crop will be good or whether bad weather will destroy it, or whether rising prices will cause a recession, or whether they had better eat a little less this year in case they need to store more for bad times.
Bad times happen, even for the birds. Bad times happened for the people of Israel, too, yet God fed his prophet Elijah. God fed His people in the wilderness. God cared and fed for His own Son.
God is sovereign over all history, my future included. He isn’t up in heaven wringing His hands, wondering how He’ll manage when evil men keep mess up His creation. Worrying about the outcome of history, whether wars or finances or health or hard times, is silly when I realize Who is in charge. Nope, that’s how the pagans run.
God will take care of my time.
The NIV says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” The NKJV says, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Either way, this is referring to my time.
Worry doesn’t add anything to my life. It doesn’t put more hours in my day. It doesn’t change anything. Planning is fine, but I know it has become worry when my head is swirling with thoughts that don’t accomplish anything. Even worse, when my swirling thoughts result in dizzying circles of actions, I have left the place of trusting calm.
“My times are in your hand” (Psalm 31:15).
“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15).
This doesn’t mean that I can’t make any plans, but it does mean that I acknowledge that all my plans are “tentative.” It’s all up to Him and to His loving, gracious, good, and all-knowing timetable.
“Now listen, you who say,’ Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the [Master’s] will, we will live and do this or that'” (James 4:13-15).
My time is to be used at my Master’s discretion, to be changed according to His liking. Making endless schedules, worrying when I can’t live up to them, and getting grumpy in the meantime all have no place in a Kingdom-Dweller’s life. Nope, that’s how the pagans run.
God will take care of tomorrow.
This pretty well sums it up. I can think and “worry” about anything I want to, as long as it’s limited to today. Today isn’t worry. Today is being a wise steward of what God has given me. It’s the only thing that is for sure.
Yesterday is past, and I can’t change it. Worrying about yesterday is called “guilt,” yet Yeshua has taken care of all my past.
Tomorrow is future, and I can’t control it. Worrying about tomorrow is called “fear,” yet Yeshua has all my future in His hands.
Yeshua says today has plenty of things to do. God says that I should spend my today on His kingdom and on His righteousness, and He’ll take care of everything else.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture in this blog post taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.