While listening to Wisdom For The Heart on BBN (Bible Broadcasting Network), I heard this message by Pastor Stephen Davey and wanted to share it. His message was “Better than the Birds” and of course it caught my attention. There are four parts, but I am only sharing the introduction and part three here.
Better than the Birds
Birds of the Bible – Better Than The Birds was the introduction to the “Better Than The Birds” message by Pastor Stephen Harvey.
We were told that “1. Worry denies the gracious care of God.”
We were told, “2. Secondly, worry depreciates the higher value of mankind” In Better Than The Birds II,
Now for Part III
3. Thirdly, worry distorts our perspective in life
In other words, worry makes you start living only for the here and now!
Go back to verse 22. And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat, nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.”
In other words, life is really about more what we’re going to eat and what we’re going to wear?
Jesus delivers encouragement to those in his day who could honestly be worried about the lack of water and food. In His culture, workers were paid daily, they bought their food daily – which is why they were taught to pray for daily bread – which we don’t worry so much about because our loaves of bread will last a couple of weeks.
In Jesus’ day, nobody was praying for bread next week – that was simply too far ahead.
Add to that the fact that their government offered no security; there wasn’t insurance, workman’s comp or benefit packages.
But there were taxes to be paid. New Testament scholars estimate that as much as 40% of their income went to taxes.
All that to say, this challenge by Jesus was staggering to them – and a great challenge to their faith in God’s provision.
In our generation, this isn’t so much an encouragement as much as it is an indictment.
While the average person has food in the fridge, clothes in the closet and a car in the driveway, what you eat and what you drink and what you dress in and what you drive have become national obsessions.
We are effectively worried that our clothes aren’t costly enough; our cars aren’t new enough; our food isn’t gourmet enough; our bank accounts aren’t big enough.
Jesus says, to that generation and this one – your life is about much more than that . . . don’t live for stuff that runs out or wears out – or goes out of style.
He promises here, not that He’ll meet our greeds, but our needs.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to talk about really splendid clothing – verse 27 – Consider the lilies, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory, clothed himself like one of these. (now here’s the pearl of wisdom) 28. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!
Jesus probably had his audience look around on that hillside – perhaps He gestured at the irises, the Turk’s cap lilies, the gladioli and scarlet poppies along with a smattering of wild flowers that bloomed for a day or two on the hillsides of Palestine.viii
He clothed them brilliantly and they don’t eve last that long!
The word for furnace here is a reference to the ordinary clay oven of this day – used primarily to bake bread. When the cook wanted to raise the temperature of the oven quickly, they would have handfuls of these same field flowers and dried grasses bundled nearby and they would grab a handful and throw it into the oven.
Something destined for the oven was still designed by God with brilliant colors and creative genius.
And all these wildflowers didn’t necessarily make it to the oven.
Martin Luther the converted monk and church reformer in the 16th century said that there were lessons of God’s glory in such beautiful flowers destined for such short life spans – he wrote “it seems that the flowers stand there and make us blush and become our teachers. Thank you flowers, you who are to be devoured by the cows!”ix
In other words, birds and flowers and nature around us teaches us the glory of God’s creative ability and His care and delight to have designed animals and flowers that live only briefly.
My wife has added birds to our backyard – strategically hanging feeders so that our back yard sounds like a constant aviary.
Yellow finches, hummingbirds, the elusive blue bird, the brilliant cardinal, sparrows, finches by the dozens, chic-a-dees, wrens, mourning doves, the unwanted mockingbird who thinks he owns the backyard and our deck and our house too.
Marsha and I often talk about the marvel of God’s hidden designs – noticed by so few. God created so much variety – to take the time to design splashes of white underneath large black eyes; to stripe transparent wings with burgundy and brown – to design symmetrical patterns of blue and gray.
Why? To declare His glory and to bring such sights for us to enjoy and marvel over His creation . . . and another reason – to remind us not to worry.
For if God so cares about the details and designs of little birds and wild flowers – how much more does He care about us – His chief design, made in His image to talk with Him and walk with Him and worship Him and fellowship with and one day reign with Him.
In fact, notice verse 32. Do not worry – don’t be anxious or afraid – little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.
In other words, we haven’t seen anything yet.
Don’t worry! Why?
Worry denies the gracious care of God
Worry depreciates the higher value of mankind
Worry distorts your perspective in life to the present –the here and now
(Copied with permission from Wisdom for the Heart and Pastor Stephen Davey.)
i John MacArthur, Matthew 1-7 (Moody Publishers, 1985), p. 419
iii William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke (Westminster, 1975), p. p. 160
iv Bruce B. Barton, Life Application Bible: Luke (Tyndale, 1997), p. 314
v Barclay, p. 161
vi MacArthur, p. 119