Matthew 6:25, 33 “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? . . . But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all of these will be added unto you.
As a teenager, when I first accepted Christ into my life, these passages jumped out at me. I was raised in a material world, but was not a material girl. Whether I wore the latest fashions or drove a new car or lived in a big house didn’t measure success for me as it did for my peers and the friends of my society conscious parents. This became my motto, so to speak. It was God telling me He had another path for me and that was okay – I could withstand the arrows of gossip shot in my direction while being shunned or bullied at school. I had Him and the youth group at the inner city church where I chose to attend to comfort and guide me.
Later, when married, we fell into tough times. We had been living meagerly from pay check to pay check. Then, we were both laid off. The passage took on a whole new meaning as I trusted God to provide for our basic needs. And of course, He did. I still do not understand how the money kept appearing in our bank account just when the rent needed to be paid or the last can of spam had been consumed.
Then, middle age hit and so did the flab in my middle. I tried diet after diet, starving myself. I hated how I looked in everything I wore. I felt frumpy and fat and unlovable. So, to boost my moods I ate chocolate and sweets and took solace in food. And I kept growing, but not in faith. I began a journey of calorie counting, watching carbs and salt and sugars, and being on a very strict diet to where I felt deprived, and again isolated. I could not eat out, or attend Church functions where there was food because I couldn’t eat any of it. I had to either bring my own bland food, stand out like a sore thumb and draw attention to myself or stay home. Even so, I was just not losing like everyone else in the program. I got angry at myself and God. Why was I so different? Why had He created me with this body? It spiraled me into a depression. So I gave up, ate to comfort myself and gained back most of what I had laboriously taken off for six months at the rate of one to two pounds a week. And yes, Matthew 6:25 took on yet another meaning. I had become a food worshipper and didn’t know it. I still fight that daily.
I marvel at how this passage has always been there to encourage me, comfort me or correct my thinking. It is as if Jesus said those words that day on the Mount just for me, and Matthew wrote them down knowing a lonely teenage girl two millennia later would claim them as her own, cling to them in times of trouble as an adult struggling to make ends meet, and return to them in middle age to correct her thinking. As we look towards an uncertain financial future and old age, I know I can cling to these passages with assurance. God will provide, as He always has.
The Bible is truly alive and filled with truth. Have you found your special passage? One that lifts you up, brings God into your heart and convicts you? If not, ask God to show it to you. And if it happens to be Matthew 6:25 and 33 that’s okay. I’ll share.