In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to people’s concerns and worries in a way that we would do well to heed. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus had just affirmed the fact that we cannot be about serving God, and also serving the things of this life because “no man can serve two masters.” As He then draws His conclusion for His audience, the refrain becomes clear, “do not worry” (Matthew 6:25, 27, 31, 34).
What things does Jesus tell us we need to concern ourselves with?
Don’t worry about your life (v. 25). We can run around worrying about the body and about what viruses or germs or pandemics might afflict us. In reality, our life is not really about that. Please don’t misunderstand, I believe we need to be wise about behavioral things like hand washing, however, our life and service cannot be consumed with trying to prevent illness from coming to the body.
Don’t neglect to see God’s loving care for His creation (vv. 25-30). Jesus urges us to look carefully at the way God treats His creation. The birds aren’t stockpiling toilet paper or hand sanitizer, yet they know God takes care of them. In a stinging rebuke, Jesus asks pointedly, “Aren’t you of more value than they?” He asks rhetorically, “Can you add more time to your life by worrying” (v. 27)? Let’s face it: If our worry could prevent COVID-19 from coming to us, many of us would be in a biological Fort Knox! God shows His care about the flowers that aren’t toiling and spinning (like the media?) but are beautiful in appearance. If God takes care of these temporary flowers, why do we in our “faith” behave like He won’t take care of us (v. 30)?
Don’t buy into the panic of those who don’t have hope (vv. 31-33). Worry will make us look at ourselves and say, “I, alone, am fully responsible for doing something to solve this.” Yet, Jesus says, this is a sign of misplaced priorities. What God wants more than anything is that we put our trust and assurance firmly in Him. He wants us to daily look into His word and find peace in this world reporting news designed to invoke panic!
Don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow (vv. 33-34). If all of us get coronavirus, it won’t be as a result of people worrying too much or too little. Though someone may sanitize their entire life and house and family, the virus could still affect them. The thing that will save is that with which we ought to be most concerned: doing the will of God (see Matt. 6:33; 7:21-23). The time is coming when no one will be talking about coronavirus anymore (say, “Amen”). Yet, the time is also approaching when our personal response to God and to His will is the only thing that will matter. That has eternal consequences! AB