A few Sundays ago the Lord allowed me to speak at a Church about “The God who Provides” from Matthew 6:25-34. The most convicting part of that passage for me was 6:31-32.
Matt. 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Matt. 6:32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (emphasis added)
Jesus explains here to His disciples that when they are overly anxious about the secondary needs of life like food (6:25-26) or luxuries like beautiful clothing (6:28-30) their actions are the same as unsaved people.
Those who don’t know Christ focus on filling own needs by any means necessary because He doesn’t exist (notice how the religious leaders use others to meet their needs in 6:1-8). Though Believers know God does exist, it’s easy for us to become overwhelmed by anxiety, and live as if He doesn’t.
This idea of anxieties affect on our testimony became very clear (and convicting) to me over the last three weeks.
About a month ago I noticed one of the tires on my car was developing a slow leak, this is a pretty common problem since some roads in Saint Vincent are hard on your tires (filled with potholes). Because I was speaking at a Church that Sunday I decided to change the tire early that morning and not take any chances, but was confused when the spare tire wouldn’t go on properly. Turns out the holes on the bottom of the tire rim were less than inch too close together so I needed a new rim.
The leaking tire was fixed Monday but no tire-shops in the area had rims to fit my Nissan since most vehicles in SVG are Toyota’s. I started visiting stores that sold rims but after realizing how much new ones cost decided to keep looking. After a few days a local mechanic promised that he could find a rim to fit the car. Over the last two weeks I went there three times to try tire rims but none fit so was starting to wonder if a Nissan rim could be found. But on Friday I finally got one that fits, and a working spare.
Over the last two or three weeks not having a spare tire was obviously a point of concern so I drove as little as possible, and as carefully as your ninety-year old grandmother. However that legitimate concern became something I thought about too much.
- Every time I left the house I would painstakingly check each tire of the car to make sure they weren’t leaking
- kick each one to make sure they hadn’t gotten soft
- Make sure to check each one again as I walked back to the house
- And sometimes made trips outside JUST TO CHECK ON THE TIRES!
I’m pretty sure the Vincentians didn’t notice how many times a day I checked my tires, but if they did what would it make them think about me as a person?
More importantly what it make them think about God?
My anxiety would send a very clear message to them; “the God of the Universe is able through Christ to deliver me from the penalty of sin, but don’t ask Him to keep a tire from blowing.”
Of course there is a need to have common-sense along with faith….for me to continue driving without a spare tire and think “God will take care of me” is incredibly irresponsible. So there’s a calling on my part to keep looking for a tire rim that fits-but part of it also believing God will provide one that fits.
The last part of 6:32 “for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” was a comfort as I drove the mechanics to see if the latest rim fit (which it did). Sometimes it seems to me as if the daily drama of life isn’t important enough for God to worry about, after all there are much more important things going on than my tire rim. But He cares even about the simplest need.
I found myself praying Friday afternoon “Lord you know whether this rim needs to fit because I’m traveling to a Church on the north of the island on Sunday. But if it doesn’t help me know it was part of your plan for me to drive there without a spare.”
There is no harm in checking the tires when the trouble of life arises. But when we walk around the car and kick them for the sixth time that day we send the wrong message about God.