Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body…
God has so constituted the natural world that it furnishes apt similes to illustrate spiritual things.
I. THE FIELDS TEACH US TO BLESS GOD.
1. They serve admirable material uses.
(1) They furnish us with food (see Genesis 1:29, 30). From the Creation to the Deluge vegetable food only was used. This diet is still, especially in warm climates, the more wholesome.
(2) Vegetables are also useful for medicine. Partly because of its medicinal properties the tree of life appears to have had its name. The principal remedies of the pharmacopoeia are from the vegetable kingdom.
(3) Vegetables have also valuable economic uses. Timber, fibres, gums, and oils.
2. They soothe and delight the sense.
(1) Colour. The elements of all calorific harmony are found in the prevailing green of the earth, with the blue and red of the heavens.
(2) Form. This may be admired in the graceful curvature and flexure of branches of trees and plants. Also in the varieties of leaves and flowers.
(3) Texture. So exquisite is the clothing of the lily, that the dress of an Eastern monarch, rich in the choicest productions of the loom and needle, with its gorgeous colouring and profusion of jewellery, sinks in the comparison. Test them severally under the microscope.
3. They serve high moral purposes.
(1) They raise our thoughts to God (see Psalm 145:15, 16). The food and medicine of vegetable nature suggest the nourishment and healing of the economy of grace.
(2) The eloquence of the fields stirs our gratitude to God. It raises our thoughts to the Creator blessing us in the benevolence of acts. To our Redeemer blessing us in the benevolence of suffering.
II. THE FIELDS TEACH US TO TRUST PROVIDENCE.
1. As they illustrate our dependence.
(1) Plants are dependent for nourishment upon the earth.
(2) The rain also is necessary for their life.
(3) They need likewise the sun and the air, in the vibratory motion of which they breathe.
(4) The birds of the air and animals of the earth in turn depend upon vegetation.
(5) All second causes depend upon God (cf. John 3:27; 1 Corinthians 4:7).
2. As they illustrate God's thoughtful care.
(1) The comparison of the flower of the lily to clothing is not only poetically beautiful; it is botanically just. The flower serves the purpose of clothing to the seed-vessel.
(2) This is evinced in the many exquisite contrivances, such as the provision of tendrils and claspers by which the tender vine avails itself of the strength of the oak.
(3) The instincts by which birds are fed, without their sowing, or reaping, or gathering into barns, have their lessons of providence.
III. THE FIELDS TEACH US TO DESIRE DIVINE CLOTHING.
1. There is a laudable attention to dress.
(1) When our Lord asks, "Why take ye thought for raiment?" he does not advise that we should be reckless as to our attire. He tells us, on the contrary, that our heavenly Father "knoweth that we have need of these things" - that he will "add" them to those who seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
(2) Our clothing exerts a moral influence. By it we may create prejudice favourable to usefulness or otherwise.
(3) But there is another extreme. There are those who make clothing more than the body. There are those who plume themselves rather upon their clothes than their virtues. Who despise those who do not appear in gay attire.
(4) How this vanity is rebuked in the clothing of the lily that goes into the oven, and by the plumage of insignificant birds! When Croesus sat upon his throne in all the glory of his ornaments, and asked Solon whether he had ever seen a fairer spectacle, the philosopher replied, "Pheasants and peacocks; for they are clothed with a natural splendour and exceeding beauty."
2. We should be clad in virtues rather than in velvets.
(1) Is there no reference to the clothing of the spirit in the beauties of holiness in ver. 317 God does not, in his providence, clothe our bodies in the sense in which he clothes the grass of the field. In this sense he does clothe our souls in righteousness. The robe of righteousness is emphatically a Divine robe.
(2) This is clothing of surpassing beauty. The spiritual is greatly superior to the material. Then "shall he not much more," not only as a matter of certainty, but also in glory and beauty, "clothe you" (see 1 Peter 3:3, 4)?
(3) This spiritual raiment is put on by faith. "Shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" (cf. Romans 3:21, 22).
3. We should look for the clothing of the resurrection.
(1) The body of the resurrection is represented as a clothing (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:2 4). Under the expression "much more" this idea also may be included.
(2) The resurrection is aptly illustrated by vegetable similes. The revival in spring (cf. Job 14:1, 2-7, 9-14, 15).
(3) Our Lord compares the resurrection to the revival of seed-corn (see John 12:23, 24).
(4) What is there incredible in a resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15:35-38)? What exquisite floral forms bloom from the dunghill! - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
WEB: Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing?