Matthew 6:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 6:28, NIV: And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

Matthew 6:28, ESV: And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,

Matthew 6:28, KJV: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

Matthew 6:28, NASB: And why are you worried about clothing? Notice how the lilies of the field grow; they do not labor nor do they spin thread for cloth,

Matthew 6:28, NLT: 'And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing,

Matthew 6:28, CSB: And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don't labor or spin thread.

What does Matthew 6:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Sermon on the Mount has included Jesus' teaching about money (Matthew 6:19–24). That has led Him to the subject of worry. Money and worry often go together. Despite what most of us imagine, even the very rich often feel anxiety over money. It's not hard to understand why those who struggle to pay for food or clothing are prone to worry about money.

Clothing is a basic human need, just as food is. In most places in the modern world, even those that culture thinks of as "poor" rarely have serious concerns about where to obtain clothes or food. However, that was an ongoing challenge for those living in poverty in Jesus' day. It remains so for people living in many parts of the world today. It's natural to expect someone in that position to experience anxiety. It's something we tend to sympathize with, and even to approve of.

Jesus, though, does not sound overly sympathetic here. He continues to suggest that worrying about money—to dwell on fear and anxiety over material things—is a form of serving money instead of God. It's possible to prioritize money over God, even if we don't have any money! Jesus asks, rhetorically, why we would be anxious about clothing. He points once more to nature to illustrate what He means.

Lilies don't do anything, in comparison to how human beings obtain food and shelter. Lilies of the field stand rooted in place and grow without doing any work or spinning any clothes for themselves. Still, as Jesus will say in the following verse, they are dressed in great beauty. They are clothed exactly as God the Father wants them to be.

Careful observers will note that lilies can also be damaged or destroyed in an instant (Matthew 6:30). It may sound as if Jesus is belittling the needs of desperately impoverished people. Rather, He is urging them to deeper trust in God. As Jesus stated in the prior verse, worry and fear are of no use (Matthew 6:27). His purpose is to encourage believers to trust in God—to actively work at shedding anxiety—so their hearts and minds can be at rest.