In 1988 the song "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was popular. It was song of the year. My law school roommate watched MTV and, because he knew that song grated on me, would give me a less than sincere invitation to come watch my favorite video when it came on.
We have plenty of things to worry about. We can worry about our retirement investments plunging, we can worry about our jobs, we can worry about our health, we can worry about how safe our children are going to be, we can worry about terrorists. We can also worry about less important things. We can worry about what we're going to wear on a date, we can worry about what we're going to give Grandpa for Christmas, I can worry about whether Grandpa is going to get me another dickey for Christmas, we can worry about the weather, I can worry about whether the Duke Blue Devils are going to do well in the NCAA tournament this year.
Where does worry come from? For the most part, fear. Winston Churchill was reminded of the story of the old man on his deathbed who thought about all the trouble he had in his life, most of which never happened.
Jesus was pretty plainspoken about worry. DON'T!! What has worry ever done for you? It'll give you a bellyache. It'll keep you up nights. It'll paralyze you so you don't get anything done. But it won't do anything for you.
But while Jesus said "Don't worry," He didn't just follow up with "Be happy." I think the reason I didn't like that song was in the video you have all these people that are floating around with a completely empty head. I didn't like that and I still don't (even though I may appear that way from time to time).
God Loves You
I don't think Jesus ever got tired of telling people how much God loves them. He looked for all kinds of ways to tell us that. Here, he shows us how God takes care of the flowers and the birds. However, they weren't made in God's image. God didn't breathe life into them. God put them under our dominion. God didn't send His Son to die for them and yet He takes great care of them. How much more will He take care of someone He created in His own image, breathed life into, put in authority over the earth and sent His Son to die for?
The worrier can look around and see things to worry about. The person of faith looks at those same things and sees all kinds of things that scream out "GOD LOVES ME!!" You decide what your perspective will be.
After talking about possessions and worrying, Jesus gets into the heart of it all. "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will follow after you." Once we get the idea that pursuit of stuff is useless -- like chasing after the wind -- and pursuit of God's righteousness is lasting, we can find meaning in our lives.
I like to collect baseball cards. However, 75 years from now, they probably won't do me any good. If we put our investment into pursuing God's righteousness by making an effort to show love to people, etc., we'll see that investment still paying dividends hundreds of years from now. Jesus wasn't saying not to collect baseball cards or to have nice cars and houses. What Jesus was saying is that when we place our priorities on things that are of this world, we're going to find dissatisfaction. When we pursue God's righteousness, He says that "all these things" (what we will wear, what we will eat and even the desires He puts in our hearts) will follow along.