Most of us are pretty content with our stuff until…
a) we go to the mall
b) we look at the ads & flyers in the Sunday paper
c) we watch TV commercials
d) we see our friend with some new cool thing
e) all of the above
We live in a culture that is always pressing on us the “next best thing” and tells us we are falling behind if we don’t have it. As a result we can spend a lot of time and energy looking for what we don’t have rather than being content with what we do. We find ourselves saying, “If only I had __________, then I’d be happy.” The problem is, as soon as that blank gets filled, it seems like we can come up with three more. There is always something else that catches our eye.
If we spend our time looking at the stuff around us, it fills us with anxiety and convinces us that, without it, we don’t quite measure up.
For those of us tempted to place too much value in the things of this world, Jesus has a question that comes out of Matthew 6:25-33: What are you looking at?
When we focus on the stuff of life, Jesus says, we become anxious. “Look at the birds of the field,” He says. Why the birds? Because they are some of the most common of our Father’s creatures. And if God provides so well for them, how much more will He provide for us?
When we stop to look at a bird, or consider a lily in the field, they don’t have iPods, cell phones, Levis or any of the other stuff we think is so critical to life. But they get along just fine. When we look at them in the simplicity of their lives, we can see their dependence on their creator and His faithfulness in taking care of them.
Here’s a challenge for you. Take a long look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field around you and thank God for His taking care of them. The next time you have the opportunity, take a long look at a cross, and thank God for providing for not only your physical needs, but for the forgiveness of your sins as well. In the cross of Calvary was God’s promise to provide for us as His very own for all eternity. As we look at Jesus’ suffering and death in our place and on our behalf, suddenly the stuff of this world doesn’t look quite so attractive.
In fact, as we consider the love of God toward us and all He has made, we are drawn again to realize that “life is more than food and the body is more than clothing.”(v.25)
So the next time you’re tempted at the mall or your eyes are drawn to the next best thing, hear Jesus’ question– “What are you looking at?”– where’s your focus? Then hear His reminder that your Heavenly Father has provided what you really need: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” (v.33)