The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on our relationship to God and recognize his faithful provision to us.
Short Sermon to the Birds by Francis of Assisi (around 1220 in Bevagna, Italy) meant for onlookers in the park:
“My little sisters the birds, you owe much to God, your Creator, and you ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though you neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noah that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though you neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favored you with such bounties. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.”
25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Observations and reflections
Note: Matthew 6:19-34 contain Jesus’ revolutionary teachings on possessions, money and security. We focus on one or two such teachings each day and consider our own attitudes and behaviors in the light of his words.
- In your own words paraphrase Jesus’ teaching regarding money in these two verses.
- Can you think of one short phrase that best summarizes Jesus’ teaching in this section?
- List the things Jesus says one should not be anxious of.
- What is the main reason Jesus says one should not be give in to anxiety? [verse 32]
- What does that imply about the nature of these anxieties?
- Considering verse 34, what more do we learn about human nature and these types of anxieties? [hint: “do not be anxious about tomorrow…”]
- What do we learn about God (and his relationship to you/us) in this section?
Application and prayer
- List every anxiety you carry or feel – write what are the things you stress about. Then confess it as wrong to God and ask for His peace to reign in your mind and heart.
- Write all your needs (both immediate and foreseeable) down on a piece of paper.
- Paul taught that we should “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by not prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6). So before we pray through the list, take good time to thank the Father for all his faithful, loving provision in you life that you do see and have seen.
- Now “cast your cares in Him – for He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7). Ask him for each need – be specific. Thank God that he has heard your prayers – as your Father who loves you.
- Lastly, pray for God’s Kingdom to reign in your life, family, community and work place. Let His righteousness, peace and joy reign where you live and move! Ask God what you can do to make it come!