Matthew 6:31, 32

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

In this portion, part of what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was teaching His disciples, and those that overheard. Consider His words; “take no thought” means “don’t be anxious”. Jesus told them that there are things about which we should not be anxious. He told them to not worry about food, drink, or clothing; things about which we worry most! It seems unreasonable to not be anxious about them because we are in need of them. Without any one of these we would not survive.

But the One that was talking was the One Who created mankind. He knows what we need. He made us that way. Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Himself all went for 40 days without food or water. The Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert, and their clothes did not wear out. And they received water out of a rock at least twice. God is also well able to provide.

Just prior to saying this, Jesus told them, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:26-30).

This puts a further perspective on the matter. Lesser things such as fowls and lilies receive blessing, feeding, and clothing from God. If He provides for them, how could we conclude that He doesn’t care about us? He feeds the birds, He clothes the lilies, which last only a day. How much better are we than they?  Shall He not much more clothe us?

The most important concept in the verses above is that our heavenly Father knows that we need all of these things. Again, He made us, and He made us to need the things we need. Our needs are intended by Him to be an opportunity to learn to trust Him more, even with the littlest things, even with our needs.

Similarly, in Matthew 6:7, 8 we read, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” The ending thought is the same as above.

But these verses touch on the matter of prayer. Some think that if they pray long enough and hard enough about a matter of concern, then God will answer. The unknown is how much is enough. The heathen think that long, even mindless, praying turns God’s ear. Quantity is the key, they think. In some cultures, wheels are set up that, when they are spinning, are supposedly sending prayers heavenward on behalf of the person that has started them spinning. All vain repetition. God promises us that He hears our praying. The often-asked question, “Does God answer prayer?” can be answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Often, that question is asked out of disappointment over what seems to be a lack of an answer. A situation hasn’t changed, or a need has not been met. We are not to be like the heathen, who think that our much speaking impresses God. Faith, or trust in Him, is what pleases Him. The answer we await to our praying could be no, or it could be wait, or it could be yes. If we are trusting Him, then we conclude that He knows better. His timing, His will, His purposes are important. No matter the answer, or lack of answer, the bottom line is, He knows what we need before we ask!

Here is how we learn to trust Him. What do we need? Clothes? He knows. Water? He knows. Food? He knows. Money? He knows. Friendship? He knows. Health? He knows. ___________? He knows. We certainly should pray about these things; we should persist in our praying, for scripture tells us to. But it is not our much speaking that makes any difference. Our requests come to a Caring Person Who knows what we need before we ask.

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely,
And long for Heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Refrain

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Let not your heart be troubled,
His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness,
I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth,
But one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted,
Whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing,
When hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him,
From care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Refrain (Civilla D. Martin)

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