In reading books by the masters of spiritual discipline, there’s one quality they write about that we of this era find nearly impossible to really grasp. It’s called ‘detachment’. But what does that have to do with modern living? We worry about having more stuff. We fret about getting ourselves enough power so that we can fend off any enemy, or at least cover our backside when needed. What will I eat? What will I wear (and how do I accessorize it)? Where will I live? Will I live?
Jesus asks us to stop pushing long enough to start looking around. “Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes”, Jesus says. He should know; he owned no land, grew no food, wore only the simplest of clothing, and his shelter was provided by people in the area of his ministry. His life was a daily experience of trusting that God would provide whatever material and bodily needs that might arise.
There is a reason behind this ‘detachment’, this independence from the stuff of this world, freedom from worry, and even from fear of losing your life. By detaching from that, you can put all your trust into the hands of the real provider of all that is – God. “Look around”, Jesus is saying. The birds benefit from what God gives, and so do the lilies. You will never get enough power to relieve you of all fear, nor can the mere fact of having goods spare you of the actual biological need to eat or be clothed. But if you trust that God amply provides, then worry and endless striving make no sense. Jesus calls on us to seek after the right thing — the Kingdom. The Father knows about whatever else is really needed, and will see to it that you get it.
Lord, thank you for not abandoning me like so many others have. Now, help me really notice the little ways you make good provision for me and for others. Help me to be true to you and to your kingdom. Amen.
A challenge: think about the ways that you are part of God’s provision for others. (And if you come up blank, or close to it, then what will you do about it?)
Also, you can hear this, as an mp3.