Chapter 29 The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer by O.S. Hawkins.
This week’s question: “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6.27).
Last week’s question came from chapter 5 of the Sermon on the Mount. This week’s question is from the next chapter. Remember, in this His first public sermon, Jesus was basically saying, this is how life is in My kingdom … or should be.
This week’s question is at the heart of one of the two most common passages about worry. The other is Philippians 4.6-8. Here in Matthew 6, the Master Teacher used contrast and comparison to help us see the foolishness of worrying. He began with sparrows.
Sparrows are dear to my heart. These are “mine,” well, the ones God allows to hang around my yard. I put seed out for them most mornings and watch them flock to the feeder while I read my Bible. I get a fair amount of doves, some finches, and a few woodpeckers with their brightly colored crests (although they only want to drink from the hummingbird feeders), but more than anything else, there are sparrows. They were just as plentiful in the first century.
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matt. 6.26).
Sometimes I’m running late in the morning or I’m out of town and I don’t feed “my” sparrows, but I don’t worry, my Father has it under control.
Back to Jesus’ question in verse 27, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?”
We, generally, think of a cubit in terms of size, but Hawkins explains that it can also mean “duration of life.”
He goes on:
Worrying will not increase your physical size, elevate your standing in the community, improve your reputation, or— as Jesus taught here— add any length to your life. Our times are in God’s hands. The psalmist reminded us that our days on earth were already numbered before we lived a single one of them or drew a single breath (Psalm 139: 16). So what will worry do for you? Absolutely nothing. Worrying is futile.
Next in the Sermon, Jesus turns our attention to lilies. My lilies are not in bloom, but this is my favorite corner in the yard.
Jesus asks us to consider the lilies. The author:
Specifically he calls us to “consider . . . how they grow” (v. 28). Growth remains something of a mystery: How does a tiny seed ultimately become a beautiful flower? How does a speck of protoplasm, undetected by the human eye, become a human being with all the intricacies of a circulatory system, respiratory system, nervous system, digestive system, and the like? In winter a flower bulb lies hidden in the earth, covered over by a frozen mound of ice and snow, as if it were dead. Yet, when spring arrives, that bulb bursts into life, sprouting stalk, leaves, and blossoms. Jesus wanted us to remember that the same God of glory who watches over those lilies watches over you and me. How do those lilies grow? God does it!
As soon as a flower is cut, it begins to die, but we are immortal, made in the image of God. If he takes care of the lilies “which today [are], and tomorrow [are] thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (v. 30).
That leads to the next reason not to worry.
“O you of little faith!” This is probably the most important one. Worry shows a lack of trust in God, His care, and His sovereign purposes in our lives. Hawkins reminds us:
The key to being free of worry is making God our top priority. Jesus put it this way: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [provision for our needs] shall be added to you” (Matthew 6: 33).
What joy to know, God clothes the lilies, He cares for the sparrows … and my God cares for me!
I have been pulling a few thoughts out of each chapter, but I cannot cover all the nuggets Hawkins shares in this little gem of a book. I hope these excerpts whet your appetite to purchase the book for yourself. Just click on one of the links below.
Next week’s question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16.13).
Last week’s question: “If salt loses its flavor, how shall [the earth] be seasoned?” (Matthew 5.13). Read it here.
You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.
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