“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
There was a time when I once had 5 Jobs (all part-time)! Two of them were in Downtown Chicago, 3 were in the outlying NW Suburbs…and I lived on Chicago’s North Side.
Around that time, I’d just bought a new car, taken from money left over from my college fund. Upon driving it home from the dealer, that day I dedicated the car to God, deeming it “God’s car.” I mean, I figure God gave the money in the first place, for it was His will and power that caused the money to raise in my former mutual fund all my life. Plus, He gave investing knowledge to my family; He gave my family money to invest in the first place and to add a little to the fund each year of my life; God put me into such a great family; and basically, God actually told me in advance what car I would end up buying (but that’s another sermon).
Now, having 5 part-time jobs led to a LOT of driving. Heck, I believe I put on close to 10,000 miles in just the first couple of months! Having 5 jobs also led to a lot of gas, which led to a lot of money spent. I actually remember getting to the point where each day I’d wonder if I’d have enough money to eat that day. Here was my situation: I need food to live, but in order to buy food, I need money, which I got from work. Therefore, most of my money would go towards putting gas into my car. And I didn’t sleep much, either. At the end of each month, I’d find myself sitting at my computer, entering my finances into my spreadsheet, and worrying about whether or not I’d have enough money for rent and bills. For my credit card was always high due to the gas, other bills would come up, and I was dedicated to tithing each month. You’d think that 5 jobs and all good hourly wages would have me racking in the cash. But instead, my expenses for getting to each one were milking me dry financially.
But there were some good perks to my jobs, spiritually, for 3 of my jobs were at different radio stations. At 2 of these radio stations, I mostly just sat around and played music or taped programs over the air. So I’d have anywhere from 3 minutes to 30 minutes to sit (or stand, depending on the station) and take time to read and study the Bible.
The first book in the Bible that I was able to read was Matthew. I’ve always loved Matthew, for it has the Sermon on the Mount and gives a lot of details about Jesus and His ministry. It was also a book to Jewish Christians, so it opens up more background to the Jewish culture, which is also the background of the Bible and Christianity. Plus, much of what I read in there really seemed to hit home sometimes.
I came to Matthew 6:25-26, which says, “…don’t worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than they are.” After reading this, I got the idea of spreading out my meals throughout the day, giving me a better chance of eating, and always have snacks, such as granola bars and stuff for when I can’t stop or afford an actual meal (still not the best for me, but it was better than what I’d been doing previously). “So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things?” (31-34)
At that time, I had a friend who seemed to always have the top of the line stuff: clothes, computer, pager (we’re talking early 1990s), cell phone, etc. He even persuaded me into buying a top-of-the-line cell phone at that time (yeah, I could barely afford food, and I was now getting a cell phone…not too smart). And yeah, that began to catch up with me.
…Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs…
There’s a song from the Rolling Stones, where in the chorus he sings:
“you can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometime, you might find,
you’ll get what you need.”
That really hit home when I realized what I was doing. I mean, get this:
When I bought my car (before having all 5 jobs), I’d originally wanted a Monte Carlo…heck, I had the money saved up for one and everything, ready to write out a check for it and everything. Another friend had bought one and given me good reviews, plus and I’d recently rented one and loved it! So I intended to buy one…but the Lord led me instead to buying a Saturn. I mean, I was fine with a Saturn…it was my runner-up if I couldn’t get the Monte Carlo. But when you look at the financial issues I previously mentioned, can you imagine how much more I’d have spent on gas if I had a Monte Carlo? So the Saturn was so much better on gas. Plus, I parked at home on the streets, and the Saturn was also smaller for such tight spots. Maintenance, I’m sure, is less expensive with the Saturn, also. So I wanted a Monte Carlo, but the Lord doesn’t always give us what we want…but because He knows what was need, He will provide for us, even before we realize we need it, God’s setting it up for us. (I still have the Saturn today, running great at over 104,000 miles!)
“…and He will give you all you need from day-day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
Understand, I had no idea that I’d continue my education, or even be called into the ministry. I knew I enjoyed reading/studying the Bible, spending time with Jesus, and telling others about what I was learning, but I had no idea at the time that God would later call me to do that for Him professionally.
Now, this isn’t all to say that I don’t still sometimes freak out about finances, because I do. But at the same time, my wife (whom the Lord introduced me to) often reminds me not to worry. When money’s needed, some always appears from from somewhere.
Other worries? Sure, on occasion. But then when I pray, Jesus always comes through.
God’s provides for us all that I need in my life…just as He said He would in Matthew, because He loves us. Sure Jesus loves everybody, but notice what I mentioned: “And He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”
I’m doing my best to live for Him and make His Kingdom my primary concern, just as He asked me to do, because I love Him too…no worries. You?