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Matthew 6:34 meaning

Jesus adds another thing to the list of what not to worry about. He admonishes His disciples to not worry about the future. We cannot control the future. Our focus should be upon faithfulness in the present. That is the only time we can trust or act.

The parallel account of Matthew 6:34 is found in Luke 12:32.

Throughout this chapter Jesus has been discussing the motivations of the heart. These inner motivations drive our outward actions that are visible to others. Christ wants us to have an inner harmony and righteousness that overflows into our outward behavior. Our Father in heaven does not approve of fake righteousness. He does not approve of hypocrites putting on a show, pretending to be righteous, to achieve the praise of other men.

Jesus began this chapter with an opening remark about the motivation of reward, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 6:1).

He ends this section with a closing remark about the motivation of worry: So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (v 34).

When Christ commands His disciples to not worry about tomorrow He is not specific about which worries they are to avoid. Earlier, He was specific about which things they were not to worry about. They were not to worry about their physical needs going unmet. Worries such as: Will I have enough food to eat? Will I have water to drink? Will I have nice clothes to wear?

Here Jesus is not so explicit. His command certainly includes these physical concerns, but it is not limited to these anxieties. This command is broader in its scope. Here the command do not worry about tomorrow is a command to not worry about anything in the future (v 34). It is a command to not worry about the unknown. Jesus wants His disciples not to be sidelined by their anxieties over what has not yet occurred. The future does not exist. It is only an imaginary world of our own creation. Jesus wants His disciples to be active in the present. He wants them to be full of faith and act upon that faith. They cannot be presently engaged if they are worried about tomorrow.

When Jesus offered reasons for why His disciples should not worry about their physical needs, His comforts rested on the foundation that their heavenly Father was loving and good; was able to abundantly provide; and was fully aware of their situation. And while these things are still true and applicable with this general command, Jesus offers a different kind of reasoning for why they should not worry about tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Jesus says, will take care for itself (v 34). In other words, let tomorrow worry about itself. Present stress will not fix tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own (v 34). This is not divine permission to worry or stress about today's troubles. Rather, it is a way of saying "Get busy and do what you are supposed to do today." There are plenty of things to do now. God's kingdom is at hand. Have faith to see it and to seek it first by acting in obedience to the commands of its King. In this way, the disciple will find His righteousness, and attain its full reward. The only time faith can be applied is in the present, today. There is not any action that can be made tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, then it is today.

Do not miss God's kingdom. It is most often missed in two ways. First, it is missed by seeking the wrong reward (from men) through outward displays of fake righteousness, instead of seeking the right reward (from your Father in heaven) through the genuine overflow of His righteousness coming from the heart. Second, it is missed because of worry. It is missed by expending effort worrying about our life and being stressed about the future instead of using our energy to act in faith right now, in the present. In order to seek His kingdom and His righteousness, we must take actions of obedience (Matthew 6:33). We can only take actions in the present. The kingdom Jesus offers is not far off or in some distant future. It is eternal and it is present. It is either missed or found every day.

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