Read Matthew 6:28-33
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLT)
We so often let the lesser matters of life preoccupy us while we neglect the more substantial matters. Jesus is warning us against this. Of course we need food and clothing and shelter. But once these and other material concerns become top priority, they become sources of anxiety rather than satisfaction.
If we make following Jesus and embracing his values and passions our priority in life, other legitimate material concerns can find their proper place. Our food and clothing and shelter and work and friendships become sources of enjoyment rather than spheres of worry. Trying to get these things to become the bearers of ultimate meaning in our lives is to put too much weight on them and so we succumb to anxiety.
Following Jesus does not mean denial of material concerns. It means we see these through different eyes. We see them as welcome additions to our lives rather than the substance of our lives. Jesus is not here to rob us of earthly pleasures, but to put those pleasures in their proper place: beneath him, not over him.
Following Jesus is not meant to be one of many competing priorities, but meant to be the overarching priority giving meaning and satisfaction to all other priorities.