Matthew 6:25-27,  consider the birds of the air

6:25 “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?
6:26 See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?
6:27 “Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment {literally, cubit} to his lifespan?”

(Matt 6:25-27 WEB)

Consider the birds

Jesus’ continues his teaching on the desire for possessions with some observations drawn from nature. He asks us to consider the “birds of the sky”, or as many translations put it “birds of the air.” On the surface this is a simple encouragement not to be anxious. However, it has a deeper message that concerns our attitudes to other people’s wealth. 

It is easy to desire the glory that others have, the designer clothes, the good food and the fine wine that come with it. However, desiring life is more important than any of that. Not just your own life, but life for everyone, for what one person has, another cannot have.

When the Hebrew Scriptures portray birds of the sky (or birds of the air in many translations) feeding, they are consistently scavenging on the remains of the formerly glorious, but now deceased. Whether the departed is an individual or an entire nation, their pride and arrogance has been brought to naught by their overthrow and death. Smaller birds would feast on the deserted crops of those who perished in such a debacle, but more notable would be the scavanging birds. In the sky of first-century Israel soaring birds like eagles, buzzards, ravens and vultures, were more common then than they are today and would have been a familiar sight. A reminder of God’s provision that hung lazily, yet ominously, awaiting the feast provided whenever God judged a death in order, whether that be of an animal or an army. 

If, through the fall of the arrogant and proud, God fed despised scavengers, then surely he would also provide for his servants at such times. Indeed, the passage calls to mind an incident where God used ravens to bring food to the prophet Elijah. That in itself was a reminder how, at times when apostate Israel came under judgement, God provided for his people in the wilderness or amongst the nations in which they sought refuge.