Matthew 6:25–34: Do Not Be Anxious
In the previous section, Jesus warned us not to treasure earthly treasures, and urged us to treasure heavenly treasures (Matt. 6:19–20). The pursuit of earthly wealth, privileges, power, and status is certainly one kind of temptation we face, it is not the only kind. Much more simply, our concerns are often very basic: the food we eat, the clothing we wear, etc. Even if we live in an affluent place like the United States of America, these basic needs come into sharp focus whenever our health declines to one degree or another. In a world where everyone must ultimately die, how should we deal with the anxieties of life? In Matthew 6:25–34, Jesus gives a simple answer: to pacify earthly anxieties, pursue heavenly treasures.
1. Why does Jesus connect this passage with the previous passage by the word “therefore” (v. 25)? What is the connection between treasuring earthly treasures and being anxious about our lives? What lessons does Jesus say that we should take from the birds of the air and the lilies of the field? Why does he criticize such anxieties as the produce of “little faith” (v. 30)? What is one area of your life that consistently brings you anxiety?
2. What does Jesus mean when he says, “Gentiles seek after all these things” (v. 32a)? What comfort does Jesus offer when he says, “your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (v. 32b)? What is “the kingdom of God” (v. 33a)? What is God’s “righteousness” (v. 33b)? How do we pursue such things? On what basis does Jesus promise us that, if we see God’s kingdom and righteousness, “all these things will be added to you” (v. 33c)?
3. Why does Jesus tell us not to be anxious about tomorrow (v. 34)? Why, then, does “tomorrow” produce so much anxiety in our lives? What does this suggest about how we should approach each day of our lives? What concerns do you have right now about your “tomorrow”? Practically speaking, how might you defer your anxiety about about those concerns until the future? Practically speaking, how might you draw upon God’s grace for today?
4. How has anxiety and depression affected your own life? What factors make your anxiety more severe? What strategies do you have to deal with your anxiety? What from this passage stands out most to give you comfort for your anxiety? What does Jesus here teach us about “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7)? How might we depend more fully on God as our refuge and our strength (Ps. 46:1)?