Do Not Be Anxious

For many years, on the first day of school I would read a passage of Scripture that began with the words, “Do not be anxious.” This message is found in two of the gospels (Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-28).

Luke tells us that Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He said, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Luke 12:22)

He goes on to give two examples that I have always loved: the birds and the flowers— specifically, depending on the translation, ravens and lilies. Consider them both, Jesus said.

“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them.” (Luke 12:24)

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Luke 12:27)

What elegant examples— what beautiful parts of God’s creation— Jesus refers to here. Though we are often too busy to notice them (unless grumbling about what birds have left behind on our car windows), birds flourish all around us. So do flowers— they bring beauty without toil.
Too often, I toil because I’m worried about filling my storehouse. I always read that passage on the first day of school because I recognized my own anxiety. I always stressed about school and devoted so much time to it because I wanted to be the best— because school has always been an idol for me. I don’t think striving for excellence in school is a bad thing in itself, but the levels of stress that I felt were evidence that I was “of little faith” (Luke 12:28) and not trusting God to provide.

Another thing I love about this passage is its dual purpose. It is, without a doubt, a command. When Jesus said something to His disciples in declarative form, it was a command to them— and, by extension, to us.

But it’s also a comfort. It’s a command for our comfort and for our own good. It’s a command to remember that God is faithful and keeps His promises to us.

It’s a command that we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, because God is sovereign over all the tomorrows -- and the ravens and the lilies.

By Bailey Vandiver

Bailey graduated from UK in May 2020 and is now a writer and editor in Lexington.

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