Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
In any economic downturn, these words take on greater significance. At face value, these verses in the context of the whole passage indicate that those whose first priority is the kingdom of God will not starve or go naked. It does not signify that there won’t be times of privation or loss and many Christians have frequently faced those conditions. The emphasis in our text of the importance of life over food and the body over clothes indicates for me that the delicacies that we eat and the smart attire we aspire to are neither essential nor part of the promise.
Loss of livelihood, homes and critical possessions cause great distress, creating the need for care and support for those caught in those circumstances. But it is our Christian response to these losses that will not only carry us through and maintain our sanity, but also indicate where our priorities really lie. Most of us have gone through difficult times and survived, and the same will eventually be true of those of you striving against the odds today.
Perhaps the most significant meaning from this passage for me was when I understood that God is my supplier. However important my job, social or relief agencies may be for sustaining the necessities of life, they are simply the means by which God provides. If they are not available, God has other ways of providing for us. John the Baptist may have only worn camel skins and lived on locusts and wild honey but he survived—at least until his martyrdom. God has many unexpected ways of providing for our essential needs, for most of us with better fare and garb than John!