by Ben Preiser
The end of Matthew 6 contains a well-known passage about anxiety:
“Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…your heavenly Father knows what you need. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
There’s an abundance of peace in these verses, but there’s an exhortation here too. It’s a comforting command but a command nonetheless: “do not be enslaved to your anxiety and fear.” And this command is clarified when we consider the section that immediately precedes this one.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus points out that it is impossible to serve two masters. The example he gives is of God and money. But then verse 25 begins with “therefore”, and the following verses describe the conflict between a heart that seeks to control life through anxiety and a heart that seeks God’s kingdom.
Here’s the connection between Matthew 6:24 and 6:25-33. We should remember that God knows what we need and loves to bless us as his children. And that comfort should drive us to admit that we cannot serve both God and anxiety.
It seems that in pointing out the Father’s care for us, Jesus is counseling each of us to choose our master well. Anxiety is a harsh taskmaster that will leave you with nothing to show for all the hours, tears, and sighs you dedicate to it. A life of serving your own worry will not bring the security and provision you crave. But the Father is a much worthier Master. He knows how to provide well for his servants. In seeking his kingdom, you not only swear fealty to a much kinder Lord, but you leave behind slavish devotion to anxiety and its disappointingly empty promises.