Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Lk. 12:22-26, NIV)
It seems everybody in today’s world is worried about their body and their clothing, as if life consisted in these two things. We seek pills to make us peppy, keep us trim, and manage our diseases. We walk, do Pilates, or jog. We buy designer jeans, shirts, coats. All in the name of looking and feeling better, and of attracting the eye of the opposite gender. Life is about our bodies and our clothing! At least for many it is. Witness all the commercials and the most popular people. Beauty is thin, blonde, blue-eyed with whiter than white teeth! We worry to the tune of billions of dollars spent on health food, glamour products, and clothes.
Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t think about these matters.” We should think about them. If you’re gaining weight, you should think about it and choose to walk or get some other exercise, as well as cut down on your snacking. If you’re shoes look disgusting, the leather is cracking at the heel, the soles are thin, you ought to consider it and buy a new pair. Jesus wasn’t telling us to avoid all thought about clothes and physical need.
His concern was with worrying over these issues. Do you stew over having the right “look”? Do you exercise to excess? Are you so concerned about your body and clothes that you’ve become obsessed with either or both? Then you’re worrying, and this flies in the face of your Lord’s instruction.
What does Jesus want you to do? To look to God. He feeds the birds. Won’t he feed you? The flowers get their shapes, colors, and beauty from him. Jesus knows that if you depend on God, he’ll provide you with what you need—and more—every day.
Nobody adds life to their years by worry. Those who depend on God to supply what they really need are free of anxiety and concern. They have enough to eat. Weight becomes less of a problem. Clothing fits better. They aren’t absorbed in food and its preparation, or avoiding food. They aren’t dominated by style trends and a closet bulging with clothing they don’t wear. Those who depend on God for life’s necessities are provided with them. And worry doesn’t overwhelm their smiling faces.