Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: Matthew 6:25-34
By Dane Tyner
Though I generally still feel young, I have increasingly frequent reminders that I am not young anymore. Mirrors are not tactful; they use no euphemisms for what they see. I have also noticed, in recent years, that more men refer to me as “sir” than in years past. That is tactful, but a sign of the age – my age, nonetheless. I am an elderly person, and I am okay with that. This devotional is not about getting old or being old; it is more about maturity. Oscar Wilde said, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” How sadly, and yet unnecessarily true!
When I was young, my vision was poor. My blue eyes have always worked pretty well, but I missed seeing things that Jesus didn’t miss. One of the things that has happened as I have followed Him is this: my vision has improved substantially. Let me share just one significant way that is true.
As a young man, I never paid much attention to birds and flowers. Cars and guns and girls captured my attention – not necessarily in that order. When some measure of maturity began to manifest in me, I began to find birds and flowers, trees and other treasures of nature captivating. As long as I can remember, I saw these things, but only at-a-glance as it were. In our Scripture text, where Jesus told us “not to worry about our lives,” He referred to birds and flowers in ways that require a bit more than shallow, fleeting thoughts.
When Jesus said, “look at the birds of the air”, He called us to more than bird watching. He wanted us to think about their lives of daily trust. They don’t build food storage units, barns. They don’t even “sow and reap.” This, of course, was not a condemnation of sowing, reaping, and barn building by humans. His point was that we should trust our Provider, as the birds do theirs. And, if we do this, when we do this, we will find worry dissipating.
It is our lot to sow and reap and store, but to do so with abiding faith in our Maker. It is rather easy to lose sight of this fact and to be obsessed with our efforts. Have I sown enough, reaped enough, stored enough? As long as we do not have certain answers for such questions, we can feel driven to do more. And honestly, who can be certain that they have done enough – enough to cover all possibilities?
Birds don’t just sit around on a branch or telephone wire waiting for someone to bring them food. They fly around from place to place, searching. Some dig around in my yard looking for food. Many find the feeder I stock outside our kitchen window. Effort is required on their part, too. They are apparently content to live on a daily basis, dependent upon their Provider.
I believe that mental health is often related to spiritual health. The more we trust our Maker, know that He cares for us, the more peace we will have. And that kind of peace in our soul is good for the body, too. Jesus wanted us to “look at the birds,” see that God takes care of them, and then think about our own relationship to God. Think about your worth in His eyes: “You are more precious than birds!” That is the message of the entire Bible.
From the opening pages of the Bible to its final pages, one thing is crystal clear; human beings are special to God. Were that not so, there would have been no plan of redemption, no Jesus, no Cross, no empty tomb, no promised return for the children.
The Apostle Paul said, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). That statement carries an understood meaning. When he said, “if God is for us”, it is not a debatable matter for the one who has received the Son; He is for us! That was more than proven on the Cross! We trust the One who has invested His all in us.
We can receive comfort in that great investment made on the Cross. He loved us enough to die in our place. Whatever is going on in our world in our day, we can rest in His care for us. An old hymn (that this old guy remembers singing) expressed it this way, “Be not dismayed whate’re betide, God will take care of you.” Whatever is a huge word. Let us choose to trust God to take care of us – whatever is going on in our lives. Peace and grace to you in Jesus’ name!
Dear Heavenly Father, You have told us and shown us, in the life of Christ, that we are precious to You. Enable us to claim the peace and joy that are available as we choose to trust You with our lives. Help us rightly plan and prepare, but not trust our plans and preparations instead of You! You are Lord over whatever is happening in my life today. Amen.
Dane Tyner is founder and director of Home Improvement Ministry in Tulsa. H.I.M. is a trans-denominational ministry, providing a variety of Christian family services including personal and family counseling, seminars, and written materials designed to help people overcome obstacles to the life God wants us to claim in Christ. Learn more at www.forhim.org.