These cold, pollen-laden days of mid-winter make it difficult for me to spend much time out of doors.
Shut up inside, focused on work or worse, a constant flow of negative news, it is amazing how quickly our minds can narrow, darken, and become anxious.
The windows save me. Portals of light, even on dim winter days, they beckon. Looking out, I’m confronted by Beauty. Even this limited view awakens my soul to Him.
The birds, fluffed up against the cold. The sky, layer upon layer of tinted white. A boundless canvas. My mind is enlarged, enlightened, and calmed in the presence of Beauty.
Matthew chapter six is such a fenestella of light.
Jesus begins by telling us something remarkable. “Your heavenly Father knows what your needs are before you ask Him.”
What follows this astonishing statement is an outline for effective communication with our Father, a warning, an encouragement, and a direction.
The prayer outline that Jesus gave His disciples, recorded in Matthew 6:9, shifts our focus from worldly needs to eternal matters. Worship, God’s will, Daily communion, repentance and forgiveness, and protection against the enemy.
Jesus goes on to warn that if we treasure the material things of this world, rather than the eternal things which endure, our hearts will become a dark and decayed place.
Our appetite for material comforts leads to an appetite for excess. Excess breeds an attitude of entitlement and privilege. Gratitude is quickly replaced with reproach. Contentedness with anxiety.
To avoid this downward spiral, our Lord encourages us to look out the window, as it were. To observe His creation. The birds of the air, the lilies of the field. All these exist because of Him and He provides for them all.
Creation reveals to us the authority and equity of our heavenly Father.
A just and righteous God, which He is, provides for the least of His creation, the birds and the lilies. How much more will He provide for us; those who are made in His image, those in whom His Spirit dwells.
Even as His hearers are still considering these great truths, Jesus gives us a directive: “Set your mind on God’s kingdom and His justice before everything else, and all the rest will come to you as well.”
By keeping our focus on His kingdom, through those areas He outlines in His prayer, we will freely receive all that we need.
Daily we experience this truth: “Each day has troubles enough of its own.” (Matt 6:34b)
Matthew Henry’s statement, “Thoughtfulness of our souls is the most effectual cure of thoughtfulness for the world,” rings true, as well.
It is out of our right relationship with our heavenly Father that provides for every other aspect of our life flows.