Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; and yet, your heavenly Father feeds them.

Matthew 6:25, 26

It is important for us to work, to be gainfully employed and to earn an income that allows us to take care of the needs of life. God instructs us that this is so. So why does Jesus tell us to not be concerned about life’s basic necessities such as food, drink, and clothing? I think that He was addressing a problem that is common to most of us. It is not so much an issue of occupation as it is an issue of preoccupation. Worry, concern, and anxiety can become powerful inhibiters to our ability to open up to God and to our capacity to maintain perspective. We can get so caught up in the search for the higher paying job, the right career move, or even just for employment that we forget that God has promised us that He will provide us with what we need in all situations.

He does desire for us to be well employed, He wants us to be able to use the skills, intellect, and talents that are, after all, His own handiwork. Remember that God tells us to work and to be productive. What Jesus is saying is to not worry about the outcome of the search; He wants us to very actively engage the process, but the Lord wants us to trust Him with the outcome, to open our minds and to take the risks that are sometimes essential in order to move more deeply into His will for us.

 I think that Jesus used song birds for His illustration because they are industrious, very active in their daily work, and they have absolutely nothing that God does not provide for them; still, they are well clothed, and they go about their literally life or death occupation of food gathering with an ever present song. God wants us to free up our energy and to be able to focus our attention on what is important, mostly on Him, and not let anxiety and worry inhibit our ability to go through life with a song on our hearts and showing off the beautiful garment that is the Lord’s unceasing grace and love.