How should Matt. 6:25-26 be correctly interpreted?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Massive numbers of wild birds starve to death all over the world, especially during the winter, as well as other undernourished wild animals. Jesus would have known this, of course, and so would his hearers. I would just like your perspective, because I do not like having cognitive dissonance where Christ (and our Father’s provision) is concerned, and I hope you can help me be more comfortable with this saying.
First of all, do you know that birds and animals were dying of starvation in massive numbers during the Lord’s time? And do you know that He knew this when He was telling us that since God takes care of them he’ll surely take of us? Because if you’re right, then Jesus was bearing false witness which is a violation of the commandment. That would make Him a sinner and would disqualify Him from being our Redeemer. And since God made no other plan for our redemption that would mean none of us is saved.
Certainly birds and other animals have finite life spans, but during their lives they do not work for their food and shelter. The Lord provides these things for them in the Creation. They just have to go out and collect it. Since He does this for them, He’ll do the same for us, so we don’t have to worry about that. Does that mean we can lie back and wait for our food to be delivered? No, but neither does it mean that for the birds. What it means is that if we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, the Lord will see to it that we will be able to meet our needs (Matt. 6:33).