Take the day lilies, for instance. They don’t put in overtime or work themselves to death. But not even Donald Trump, with his vast fortunes, has any chance of looking as good as they do. They bloom only for a day, and the next day they’re just fire starter. It’s no great leap of faith to see that if God cares for them, God cares for you.
With this, Jesus says that working hard to get ahead is a waste of time. Not working hard, mind you, but working hard to get ahead.
Wealth, and anything that wealth can get us, is a mirage. Temporary. Transient. As the Buddhists might say, impermanent. Striving after these things is bound just to make us old before our time (and worth nothing but fire starter), to burn us out.
Neither is there any use wearing ourselves and God out by praying for wealth. In spite of what you might hear from the likes of Joel Osteen or Creflo Dollar, wealth is not a measure of God’s blessing. Never has been, never will be.
Instead, Jesus’ says, God cares for you. Now that you don’t have to work to prove how much better-off you are, you’re free to do what’s really important.
He told his students, “Don’t fret about life, about what you’ll eat. Don’t obsess about body image, and clothes. There’s way more to life than dining and fashion.”
Granted, this is much easier to say when you’re not particularly worried about the immediacy of food and clothing. And yet, even the well-to-do spend a lot of time fretting over which restaurant they’ll go to, and what they’ll wear when they go there. You need only look at the racks next to the grocery store check-out to see that the vast majority of popular reading centers around diet and fashion.
Jesus takes a much simpler approach. Eat food. Wear clothes. Then get on with the important things. Some of the important things might be making sure your neighbor has something to eat and something to wear. You can tell the important things, because someone will remember what you did for them long after they’ve forgotten what you were wearing when you did it.