Seek the Kingdom First 6:25-34
In Jesus’ day there was no state-operated welfare system to abuse. Instead, there was a covenant under which a person’s extended family was responsible for their welfare, but was also held accountable for most everything else secular government today has hijacked. The context for the whole New Testament was a radically different world than we see around us today. It’s easy to see how American Christianity has missed the point on this passage, given the scolding materialism of our culture.
This lesson continues farther down the same path as the previous, asserting an otherworldly viewpoint. This does not contradict the likes of Proverbs 6:6-11, which castigates the lazy. Jesus addresses life on a wholly different level; His audience would have recognized this. The biggest problem His audience faced was a very unfair economic system that violated the Covenant of Moses and the Talmud. The deck was stacked against the average Jewish peasant because of all the different ways he was scraped of his wages under the thumbs of both nobles and the legalistic middle-class Pharisees.
So for the peasants, the coming of the Messiah would mean a restoration of moral justice. Until He came, it was essential to understand what He would demand, not just dream about what He would do for them. Jesus was telling them not to get hung up on vengeance against their oppressors; that was the Messiah’s job. Don’t be like them in worshiping Mammon. Be true to the pure and ancient teachings of Moses; don’t get hung up on materialism.
Don’t be anxious over worldly concerns. The covenant life was far more than such things. Do you see how God treats the other creatures? The Father takes care of them as members of His household. Birds eat twice their weight each day in food, and the flowers are dressed better than Solomon was. If you could be half so faithful in your calling as they, don’t you think He would be generous about your needs? Can your anxiety have any beneficial affect at all on your human existence? How easily we forget that revelation is meant to restore us to our original state in Eden, serving the Lord as managers over the rest of Creation. Do you imagine He would give preference to the rest of Creation over His appointed managers?
The worst that your oppressors do to you cannot hinder the hand of God in filling your life with shalom. The Gentile nations don’t have the specific and lavish promises Israel has under the Covenant of Moses. They also don’t have the mission of revelation. Live the Covenant and demonstrate obeying the Creator. Focus on standing in His favor as your divine Father; He is not neglectful of what you need to serve Him. Focus your attention and energies on being ready for the coming Messiah; God can easily take care of the rest.
The final verse here is Jesus quoting an ancient proverb that is also in the Talmud. You have enough to occupy yourself today without borrowing from tomorrow’s anxieties.