“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
This was said by Jesus in response to his disciples being needlessly overcome by worry. The purpose was to strengthen their faith by convincing them that God will take care of their needs, just as he does the needs of all his creatures. In fact, our role is more important than that of any other creature – he gave us the job of taking care of the whole earth and everyone in it (Genesis 1:28)! So there is no sense worrying. Instead we should put our faith in God to provide us with everything we need.
Unfortunately, as has been the case since the beginning, Satan deceives people by taking what God says out of context and uses it to encourage people to do the opposite. In this instance he uses the passage to make people arrogant, feeling “I am more valuable than anyone else!” God warns against this attitude when he says “sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). And Jesus shows us that only by humbling ourselves before God can we ward off the allure of arrogance when he says, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him” (Matthew 4:10-11). We ought to follow Christ’s example and humble ourselves in servitude toward God, faithfully taking care of the whole earth and all its inhabitants. As Jesus put it, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).