”Much More” God
Because Matthew 6:19-34 was the central passage in Abundant Simplicity. I spent a lot of time meditating on it. Over and over, the phrase “much more” in verse 30 stood before me and sparkled (will he not much more clothe you).
I think that happened because there was a hilly, zigzagging road called “Muchmore Road” in a wooded area near where I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. The road deserved that name because when people drove it they wondered, How much more of this can I stand?
But my mother liked to drive that road and since it was an alternate route to another part of town she would ask me when we got near the cutoff: “Do you want to take Muchmore Road?” She said it with a gleam in her eye that told me that driving Muchmore Road was great fun. Whether I was six or sixteen I always said, “Yes, let’s take Muchmore!” Unlike other drivers, my mother was sorry when we got to the end of it. She was never too tired to drive it. When I learned to drive, I always took it. So when I picture Jesus saying, “will he not much more clothe you?” I guess I see my mother’s gleam in his eye as he says it. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Trust me, girl, this is good! God is good!”
The phrase “much more” occurs many times in Scripture and it usually indicates God’s astonishing generosity . (See Mt 6:30; 7:11; Lk 6:24, 28; Rom 5:9-10, 15, 17; 2 Cor 3:7-11.) If, however, we believe that God is forcing us to live a “much less” life, practices of simplicity - usually giving up things temporarily or limiting them--will seem scary. We will think that simplicity practices bring “much less” when in reality, they bring “much more” of an intentional, fully vital life.
So our view of God is important. Speaking about the above passage, scholar Tom Wright says, “When [Jesus] urged them to make God their priority, it’s important to realize which God he’s talking about. He’s not talking about a god who is distant from the world, who doesn’t care about beauty and life and food and clothes. He’s talking about the creator himself, who has filled the world with wonderful and mysterious things, full of beauty and energy and excitement and who wants his human creatures above all to trust him and love him and receive their own beauty, energy and excitement from him.”
Because Jesus knew God to be a God of much more, it was natural for him to say: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” (Matt 6:34, Msg).
Jesus knew God to be a God of much more, and so can we.
Grace and peace,
The above is excerpted and adapted from a chapter in Abundant Simplicity. ©Jan Johnson
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