Worry About Clothing
And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? (6:28–30)
The third illustration has to do with clothing, using flowers as a model. Some of the people to whom Jesus spoke perhaps had little clothing, no more than one set of coverings for their bodies. He pointed again to their surroundings, this time to the flowers, to assure them of God’s concern and provision.
The lilies of the field may have been a general term used of the wild flowers that in great variety and beauty grace the fields and hillsides of Galilee.
Those beautiful decorations of nature make no effort to grow and had no part in designing or coloring themselves. They do not toil nor do they spin, Jesus said, stating the obvious; yet I say to you even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.
Even the naked eye can see much of the amazing detail, shading, and coloring of a flower. Under a microscope it shows itself to be even more marvelous and intricate than ancients could ever have imagined. Yet even Solomon, one of the most resplendent kings the world has ever known, in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these little flowers which anyone there that day could have picked by the dozen.
It is an indictment of our day that we spend so much time, money, and effort to dress ourselves. Lusting after costly, stylish clothes is sinful, because its only purpose is to feed pride. The number of clothing stores we have today, and the vast amounts of clothes we find in them, is staggering. Many people have made a god out of fashion, and shamelessly waste money on expensive clothes they will wear but a few times.
Our worries today are seldom for necessary clothing. If Jesus told those who had but one simple garment not to worry about their clothing, what would He say to us?
Despite their beauty, however, flowers do not last long. Along with the grass of the field, they are alive today and tomorrow [are] thrown into the furnace.
Klibanos (furnace) is better translated “oven.” Such ovens were made of hardened clay and were used primarily for baking bread. When a woman wanted to hurry the baking process, she would build a fire inside the oven as well as under it. Fuel for the inside heating was usually composed of dried grass and flowers gathered from nearby fields. Once the fiower’s beauty was gone it had little use except to be burned up as fuel for baking. Then it was gone.
But if God bothers to array the grass of the field with beautiful but short-lived flowers, how much more is He concerned to clothe and care for His very own children who are destined for eternal life?
To be anxious even about things which we need to survive, Jesus says, is sinful and shows little faith. A person who worries about those things may have saving faith, but he does not have faith that relies on God to finish what He has begun. It is significant that each of the four other times Jesus used the phrase “O men [or “you”] of little faith,” it was also in relation to worry about food, clothing, or life span (see Matt. 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28). “You believe that God can redeem you, save you from sin, break the shackles of Satan, take you to heaven where He has prepared a place for you, and keep you for all eternity,” Jesus is saying; “and yet you do not trust Him to supply your daily needs?” We freely put our eternal destiny in His hands, but at times refuse to believe He will provide what we need to eat, drink, and wear.
Worry is not a trivial sin, because it strikes a blow both at God’s love and at God’s integrity. Worry declares our heavenly Father to be untrustworthy in His Word and His promises. To avow belief in the inerrancy of Scripture and in the next moment to express worry is to speak out of both sides of our mouths. Worry shows that we are mastered by our circumstances and by our own finite perspectives and understanding rather than by God’s Word. Worry is therefore not only debilitating and destructive but maligns and impugns God.
When a believer is not fresh in the Word every day, so that God is in His mind and heart, then Satan moves into the vacuum and plants worry. Worry then pushes the Lord even further from our minds.
Paul counsels us as he did the Ephesians: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might” (Eph. 1:18–19).
MacArthur New Testament Commentary