Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25

During my lifetime, I’ve enjoyed an unprecedented abundance of the two necessities Jesus highlights in the above verse. So relating to this passage is somewhat difficult.

Estimates are that 30% to 40% of our nation’s food supply is discarded, accounting for around 22% of solid waste in our landfills. Many of us regularly clean out closets, donating the contents to charitable outlets with 85% of those donations ending up in landfills. How does this happen?

Part of the answer may be that nutrition experts churn out mountains of theories leading to never ending searches for perfect foods. Also, style influencers create desires for a bevy of fresh purchases that promise to win approval from watchful connoisseurs. It’s calculated that each of us encounters thousands of advertisements per day that encourage these inclinations.

Dig deeper into today’s scripture. A careful re-reading reveals Jesus’ words aren’t really aimed at starving people who lack warm clothing in winter. His message is most pertinent for those living a life of material adequacy, even abundance.

As Jesus’ followers, we’re challenged with simplifying what’s essential, keeping in mind that God cares for us. Then we’re set free to concentrate on issues he considers important. How should we view cultural standards of excellence considering the Kingdom of God doesn’t pivot around right eating or meticulous outward appearances?

Do you struggle with food and drink in such a way that making a wrong choice induces distress in you?* Or are you touting your eating habits to the point you irk others with implications that their choices are inferior? Do you fear that hairstyle, clothing, or decoration blunders will isolate you from true acceptance and friendships? Conversely, are you self-absorbed with your sense of cutting edge fashion?

Take a short inventory. Do you find yourself nervous because, in spite of your self-sufficiency, you might lose it to an unanticipated future event like an illness? Conversely, do you experience inadequacy anxiety because keeping up with the latest trends eludes your grasp?

Today, notice the times you’re tempted to ponder something attractive you don’t want or need but promises you an improvement or security. Analyze one or two commercials that seem to guarantee ridiculously more than the advertised product can deliver. Thank the Lord that he’s given you power to resist a temptation that could consume your peace or has the potential to separate you from the conscious presence of God.

*Note: Certainly it is unwise to ignore food sensitivities that cause either discomfort or medical emergencies.