Matthew 6:26 | God Feeds Birds, you are more important than birds

“Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?”

How ought we to read this knowing what we know about the world?
I propose we can’t interpret this literally.

What do you think Jesus meant ?

Matthew was basically writing to a Jewish audience at that time.
Fulfilment of the previous prophecies.

Jesus has just told his followers not to worry about material things such as food or clothing, as God will provide the needs of his followers. Earlier in the chapter Jesus presented a discussion on how one must not pursue wealth and material things before God. This verse ties the two notions together. If one places the pursuit of the [Kingdom of God] first, then material needs will follow without need for worry or anxiety.

This is how I read it ?

Our spiritual needs are more important than our physical needs.

That being said, Jesus commanded us to feed the poor. We (the Church, Christ’s body) are His hands and feet


What is wrong with saying that God feeds the birds?

The context here is that God made, and owns, the world. There are many OT verses pointing out that God in His providence feeds all the animals, owns all the animals and plants, and does not need animal sacrifice for Himself to live. The cattle on a thousand hills, etc., etc.

Now, when it individual birds, obviously God is free to do as He chooses. (And humans are free to set out birdfeeders, or turn birds into pets.)

But when it comes to things in general, millions and billions of birds get their food from the Lord, not from us.

1 Like

Or sandwiches

1 Like

Yup. We administrate the world and its creatures, under God.

And there are millions of turkeys that would never have existed if we had not bred and raised them for food.

1 Like

AUGUSTINE. (De Op. Monach. 23.) Some argue that they ought not to labor, because the fowls of the air neither sow nor reap. Why then do they not attend to that which follows, “neither gather into barns? Why do they seek to have their hands idle, and their storehouses full? Why indeed do they grind corn, and dress it? For this do not the birds. Or even if they find men whom they can persuade to supply them day by day with victuals ready prepared, at least they draw water from the spring, and set on table for themselves, which the birds do not. But if neither are they driven to fill themselves vessels with water, then have they gone one new step of righteousness beyond those who were at that time at Jerusalem (Acts 11:29), who of corn sent to them of free gift, made, or caused to be made, loaves, which the birds do not. But not to lay up any thing for the morrow cannot be observed by those, who for many days together withdrawn from the sight of men, and suffering none to approach to them, shut themselves up, to live in much fervency of prayer. What? will you say that the more holy men become, the more unlike the birds of the air in this respect they become? What He says respecting the birds of the air, He says to this end, that none of His servants should think that God has no thought of their wants, when they see Him so provide even for these inferior creatures. Neither is it not God that feeds those that earn their bread by their own labor; neither because God hath said, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee,” (Ps 49:15) ought the Apostle therefore not to have fled, but to have remained still to have been seized, that God might save him as He did the Three Children out of the midst of the fire. Should any object in this sort to the saints in their flight from persecution, they would answer that they ought not to tempt God, and that God, if He pleased, would so do to deliver them as He had done Daniel from the lions, Peter from prison, then when they could no longer help themselves; but that in having made flight possible to them, should they be saved by flight, it was by God that they were saved. In like manner, such of God’s servants as have strength to earn their food by the labor of their hands, would easily answer any who should object to them this out of the Gospel concerning the birds of the air, that they neither sow nor reap; and would say, If we by sickness or any other hindrance are not able to work, He will feed us as He feeds the birds, that work not. But when we can work, we ought not to tempt God, seeing that even this our ability is His gift; and that we live here we live of His goodness that has made us able to live; He feeds us by whom the birds of the air are fed; as He says, “Your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much greater value?”

1 Like

Sentence 1:

““What gain is there from my lifeblood,
from my going down to the grave?
Does dust (a dead man) give you thanks
or declare your faithfulness?”

Sentence 2: I do not ask is it our Job to serve the poor. I ask, is the law of Non-Contradiction violated when God declares that all of humanity will be fed, then large quantities of people die.

@englands123, @Mintaka, and @irenaeuslyons


God declares that none shall perish from starvation, since he cares more about us than the birds, and birds don’t die from starvation in large numbers.
God does not attach a qualifier to the claim that none shall perish due to hunger, (if politics is good, if people where not evil, as long as just people lead, and so on).


We know people die from hunger.


The law of non-contradiction is true.

We understand it as a spiritual metaphor .

1 Like

Christ’s purpose was not to come and fill bellies with bread. You will still eventually perish even if you have a full gullet three times a day. He came to save our eternal soul. Most of the talk of the feeding the masses is to be understood as a metaphor for the spiritual food that will nourish our souls so that we might spend that eternity with Him.

Please see the previous verse… go to the link and read the commentary on the verse.

Holy Bible (Douay Rheims)
Mt 6:25‘Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?

I do not propose God’s purpose is to keep us alive, I just state that Matthew 6:26 says no one should be starving if it is indeed literal. We must conclude that that passage is a metaphor, otherwise it is wrong.

Next off, Matthew 6:26 did not try to make food a metaphor for feeding the soul of a man, since birds have no souls.

Matthew 6:25 is irrelevant to the question, God says something that is a metaphor, or it was not a metaphor and God lied? God can not lie, thus it is a metaphor.

Neither do the birds reap or sow which also makes them unlike us. So God feeds the birds food, but since we are more important than birds, he provides for us in a better way. That way is not food for the body because life is more than food as we are taught in the previous verse.

Mt 6:25 "…Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? "

Life is more than food because we have an eternal soul which needs to be fed. So obviously we will be given something better than the food he gives birds in the next verse because we are "more important than they" are.

Matthew 6:25 actually provides all the context for verse 26.

I simply thought he was saying search for the Kingdom of God (the word of God ) and not to worry about earthly things such as food , clothing & wealth .

Why be anxious for worldly things.

Yet, I would not be surprised that we die of starvation in higher rates.

I do not intend to say the meaning of life is food. I mean to say God sounds like he will ensure we don’t die of starvation based upon a literal reading, and since people die, it must be non-literal.

I agree. I think the fact that he is saying life is more than food points to that. Physical food is for sustaining the body which is earthly. But we don’t have to worry about earthly things. There is a spiritual dimension where we don’t need to worry about food, clothing, and wealth. A birds life is sustained by physical food. But our lives are more than food because our souls don’t die when the body dies for lack of it.

I found this quote long after I posted this question. I firmly agree with it.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit