In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, the Savior teaches a principle using two examples from nature:
- “Behold the fowls of the air” (3 Nephi 13:26, Matthew 6:26).
- “Consider the lilies of the field” (3 Nephi 13:28, Matthew 6:28).
What does He want us to notice about birds and flowers? They don’t perform a lot of the tasks which we consider essential to life. Birds don’t plant seeds and cultivate plants. Plants don’t weave fabric or sew clothing. In both cases, the food and the “clothing” they need is simply provided for them.
What is the lesson for us? I don’t think the Savior is asking us to neglect essential tasks. I think He’s inviting us to rethink which tasks really are essential. Are we trying to control everything in our lives? How much can we really control? And are we capable of trusting that God can help us with the parts we can’t control?
For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.3 Nephi 13:32, Matthew 6:32
Henry David Thoreau pointed out the folly of spending so much time and energy preparing for the future that we fail to live in the present: “
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. Men say that a stitch in time saves nine, and so they take a thousand stitches to-day to save nine to-morrow.”Thoreau, H. D. (1910). Walden. United States: Longmans, Green, and Company, 78
Today, I will fulfill the tasks of the day and will make reasonable preparations for the future. But I will avoid the anxiety of micromanagement. I will recognize that many things are beyond my control, and I will trust that God understands my needs and will provide.