“Do Not Worry” Essay, Research Paper
This excerpt from the passage of “Do Not Worry,” from the Gospel of Matthew deals with issues such as faith, single-mindedness and worrying.
Faith is an important part of this passage. To the people of biblical times, this passage spoke out a certain message — whoever has faith, will be taken care of by God. He will know who has been faithful and believes in him and He will take care of them. God takes care of things as insignificant as lilies and grass (6:28, 6:30), He will not forget about you. Even those “of little faith” (6:30) will be taken clothed and taken care of. Three of the main emphasized points are water, food and clothing. These are also three of the three main human concerns. People needed to have faith that God would take care of them and provide them with everything they need in life. Matthew 6:21 reads that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Your treasure should be your faith, your belief in God. Only through faith, will one be able to reach the Kingdom of God. This should be your single and most important focus.
One’s focus should also be on today – God will take care of the rest. If you worry about tomorrow, you lose focus on what should be taking priority: today and your faith. You must appreciate what you have and not worry about what you don’t have or what you should have. God decides who gets what. Even if you worry, you have control over what will happen. If you spend all your time worrying about what the future will bring, you will never have any time to enjoy today. Only God knows if you will even be around tomorrow – what if you weren’t and all that worrying were done for nothing? To the people of Biblical times, this passage signified a focus on the “right” thing – which was having faith. “No one can serve two masters…you cannot serve God and wealth,” (6:24) clearly states what a person can and cannot do. People cannot have faith in God, while worrying about the material things in life.
This passage is all about the natural things in life and what God is going to provide you with. Do not worry about where your next food and drink will come from, or what clothes you will wear tomorrow (6:31); God takes care of this for you. He takes care of insignificant things, like grass and lilies (6:31, 6:28). He will take care of you too. The temporary like the lilies and grass are taken care of; you who are less temporary will be too, so long as you have the faith in the Lord. “Your heavenly father knows that you need all these things,” (6:32)
Priorities are emphasized in this passage; one needs to realize what is important today and not about what is to come. God and reaching His Kingdom should take priority over everything. Material things in life are not as important as what your faith and believing that God is going to provide for you. People have to “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” in order for everything they need to be given to them.
In this passage, there is also evidence of a lecture against single-mindedness as well as hypocrisy. Matthew 6:16 tells of hypocrites (the scribes and the Pharisees, 23:15) – how they teach people, but don’t practice what they preach. Jesus is different; he practices what he preaches. When Jesus tells people something, he follows through with it himself. “And whenever you fast,” (6:16) Jesus fasts for “forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.” (4:2). When the scribes or Pharisees do a deed, it is purely “to be seen by others.” (23:5) Everything they do is for image and material sake only, for “inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (23:25) Jesus repeats the fact that the scribes and Pharisees are full of hypocrisy and lawless several times (23:23, 23:28, 23:29).
The scribes and Pharisees are focusing on the wrong thing. They are not focusing on the Kingdom of God; they are working for themselves. Their “treasure” is not what it should be. The mention of the “eye” in 6:22 is direct reference to the single-mindedness. Jesus uses eye in the singular form, again emphasizing the ‘single’ mind and focus that people should have. The eye is what Jesus refers to as “the lamp of the body” (6:22), referring again to the body. If you keep your eye focused on faith and God, you do not need to worry about anything else. God will see that you are faithful and he will take watch out for you.
But you must be focused on today and what today has to bring. Live life for what you have, not what you don’t. Appreciate what you have. Let your eye be focused on God and he will then take care of your body.
God takes care of creatures such as birds, who do nothing to contribute to society. God clothes “which is alive today and tomorrow thrown into the oven,” such as grass or the lilies (6:28, 6:30). These two examples further reinforces the fact that God will care for even the things that are the most temporary in this world. Even those who are of little faith, God will take care of them (6:30). Maybe they will never reach the kingdom of God, but God will provide for them. Furthering the point of insignificance and single-mindedness, 7:4 also brings up a few elements. You have but a “log” in your eye, while you try to assist your neighbor, who has but a speck in his eye. A “speck” is an insignificant piece of material, while a “log” is not as insignificant, it does not hold much importance. Again, it is the “eye” that is being blocked – not another part of the body. The eye is important because it is what you use to focus on things. How can you try to take a mere speck out of your neighbor’s eye, while you have an entire log in yours? You would be doing it for show only – the wrong reason. If you truly wish to help your neighbor, you would take the log out of your own eye before assisting your neighbor. Helping others while you are in need of help yourself is putting on a show for people. This is the wrong focus, you are not focusing on what God can do for you, you are focusing on what you can do for yourself.
Judgement is also referred to in this passage (7:1). If you are truly trying to reach the Kingdom of God, you will be devoted and you will not judge others. If you make a judgment, you will be judged as well.
This passage’s significance in the Gospel is very apparent. It reiterates a point already made and to be reinforced again later in the Gospel. The key themes are: God takes care of insignificant things, single-mindedness is not a good thing, one must have faith in God to provide, and worrying about what will happen is irrelevant to life today. Learning to be concerned with only “today’s troubles” is something that all Kingdom-striving people need to learn. Don’t be concerned with the material future, be concerned with your faith, love and devotion for God. This needs to be your priority.
The essence of this passage lies in 6:33. “But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” All it takes is a little bit of faith. If you are focused on the right things, you will have no problem reaching the Kingdom of God. The main message of the passage is “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (6:34)
“Do Not Worry” relates to Matthew’s entire Gospel with it’s recurring themes and images. It fits perfectly into the Gospel, between single-mindedness and judgement, while speaking of both in it’s own other words.
The passage tells people of biblical times not to worry about material things, but to be concerned with their faith and focus – to be unbiased and to not judge others. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is the main message of the judgment words. Should the people not want to get judged by others, they shouldn’t judge others. That would be the wrong focus and it would be single-minded. Creating a bias is basically cutting off all other views of the world, which is not what God is encouraging. This passage is an important part of Matthew, as it provides an explanation as to what people’s motivations behind their actions should be. Striving to reach the Kingdom of God is what should be motivating people. People should not worry about what tomorrow will bring and start living life for what they have. Even people of biblical times need relief from the everyday hassles and have the time to commune with God and their faith.