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your heavenly Father feeds them

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"  (Matthew 6:26 ESV)

In this one statement, the Lord Jesus answers both our personal anxieties about life and also some great questions debated by philosophers down through the centuries.

"...your heavenly Father feeds them..."  Notice the following:  "Your"... as followers of Christ you belong to God as his children and he is your Father who cares and provides.  "Heavenly"... he rules over all of creation, heaven and earth.  "Father"... he is personal, relational, loving.  "Feeds"... he is involved, hands-on with his creation. "Them"... he provides for the small, seemingly insignificant creatures in this world.  The argument goes from lesser to greater: if he cares about and feeds the birds, certainly he cares about and will provide for you as his children.

So here, Jesus answers our personal fears and anxieties as we follow him. 

But equally remarkable, he also negates all other major worldviews that contend for our trust...

Atheism / materialism.  Jesus does not believe that nature is unguided, random, or closed and self-contained, just the sum of natural processes.   There is a God, who is Fatherly, and he cares about and is involved lovingly in his creation, even the ordinary and natural events.

Pantheism.  Jesus does not believe that the universe is permeated with, or identical with, a non-personal force or an impersonal ground of being.  The heavenly Father is a person, a caring and involved person.  He is not beyond noticing and feeling the needs of individuals. 

Deism.  Some believe that some god somewhere may have started the universe like a clock and left it to run on its own laws of cause and effect.  Again, Jesus teaches that there is a good, heavenly Father who provides -- even through secondary causes -- for the creation he loves. He is not removed from the care of his creatures.  

So in one verse, actually five words in English (seven in the Greek*) -- "your heavenly Father feeds them" -- Jesus answers not only our individual needs for peace and well-being, but also addresses the greatest questions people have asked about our universe. 


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