if you want to experience what he meant
saying- 36; nature takes care!
(latest update: 11-11-2018)
do not be anxious from morning until evening
and from evening until morning
about what you will wear.
Jesus said, do not worry from dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn about [what food] you
[will] eat, [or] what [clothing] you will wear. [You are much] better than the [lilies],
which [neither] card nor spin. And for your part, what [will you wear] when you have no clothing?
Who would add to your stature? It is he who will give you your clothing.(Pap. Oxyrh.)
This saying was without doubt primarily meant for the ears of Jesus’ hearers who he
invited to take his example regarding the itinerant way of life, full of uncertainties about
regular daily necessities as food, shelter and clothing. The followers were probably
quite worried, and not sometimes, but all the time, even at night! - from morning until evening
and from evening until the morning. Jesus could have said that God would supply,
but he didn’t. It seems that he refused to invoke the Hebrew God as the one who takes care.
The Thomas’ text rather leaves the conventional God-concept out, as opposed to the
phrasing in Q from which Piper (1989) concludes that “this is the most precise affirmation of
God’s care for those being addressed”, but remarked that “this divine concern is not directly
linked … with any moral or pietistic considerations”, the absence of which point away from
a theistic interpretation in my view. And although Piper sees “strong features of design and
argument” in the concerning parts of the aphoristic Q collection, “which suggests intentional
and unique composition”, he also states that “the religious outlook of these collections….is
not simply typical of Jewish piety”, in which sustenance by God is mostly linked with the
righteousness of the worshipper.
Thomas’ Jesus seems to point at the world at large or Nature in general, of which man is part,
and which obviously cares for their human body. Or perhaps he meant only to say :
"don't worry all the time over these issues; just trust that there will be taken care of you,
one way or the other". The "he" in the Pap. Oxyrh. text may just refer to someone, whosoever.
This taking care is much more complex than the mere feeding and
clothing about which man worries all the time. Besides, his followers should not be
pre-occupied with their own wellbeing, but that of those who were even more needy,
physically as well as spiritually.As such, Jesus regards man as part of nature, while
leaving traditional concepts of God completely out of the story when it comes to the
necessities of daily living as itinerants; it is about a general trust in life itself instead of
exerting oneself all the time trying to mollify the deity to lift one's anxieties.
Jesus' hearers might have been hesitant to follow his example either because they
must have known from itinerant Jesus followers e.g., how hazardous the wanderers’ way
of life in fact was.
If we may apply the saying to our own time, it may be taken as a rejection of too much
preoccupation with food or clothing as is the case among many in today’s
Western society; things we use for pleasure, underline the size of our ego, and keep our
awareness in full grip. Would Jesus have said it today, he would undoubtedly
have added looks, cars and career to his list.
Being part of nature, don't worry, nature takes care of herself!
Of course, the saying was no assertion that everything would always be provided,
but anxious anticipation would not change the course of affairs.
Matthew 6:25; Luke 12:22.