This passage forms a subsection of what is known as The Sermon on the Mount in the first part of Matthew’s gospel.
[for a detailed outline of the sub-section from which this passage comes, see the notes on Matthew 6:33 contained under the heading “Happy Conclusions” at the end of this series of readings.]
In this passage Jesus is addressing some of the issues that face us as we reflect on our relationship to the physical requirements to sustain life, while trying to retain our perspective in relation to the other parts of life. He talks about the problems of storing up treasures – that is saving, and our tendency to get obsessed with this to the exclusion of other priorities in life. He talks about how we are so quick to be attracted to secondary things in life and lose our perspective. He talks about our tendency to be hardwired to serve only one set of life priorities at a time; and that once the selection is made, our attitudes will show themselves in both our sentiments and our actions.
In verse 25ff he takes on the issue of obsessive worrying and uses a variety of illustrations to encourage us to back off a little bit. He concludes this section by encouraging us to take things a day of the time and not be so worried about tomorrow that we forget to live in the present and enjoy the life that we have with the people around us.
One of the things that surprised me the most when I moved up to the reserve just after University was how much laughter there was. They had something like 95% unemployment, and for the most part the trapping and hunting was depleted so the only income was a social security. Nevertheless, I found a lot more laughter on the reserve then I had experienced in the suburban community I’d grown up in.
His advice reminds me of the day I was driving a long deserted stretch of highway through the Bush which had become ice covered and almost impassable. There was no way to turn around, and nowhere to stop. We had to keep pushing forward. I found myself becoming increasingly tense behind the wheel, and then realized that such a response really wasn’t helping at all, and I forced myself just to relax and take it easy. That’s the gist of this passage as well.