It is the chosen twelve, and not the the multitude, who are told to "take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what he shall drink." It is those who are to minister who are freed from the earthly cares of providing for their needs. Their lives are to be given over to ministering to others, and not to work for their support. The Lord intends to provide for them.
This is a very narrow group to whom this promise is made. It does not include others in the audience. For the rest, we are required to provide for our families. If we fail to provide for them by laboring for their support, we have denied the faith. (1 Tim. 5: 8.) Wives are to be supported by their husband's labor. (D&C 83: 2.) Children are to be supported by their parents. (D&C 83: 4.) This requires all to labor. (D&C 42: 42.) But as to these twelve, their labor is the ministry and their support will come from the Lord.
It is a small thing for the Lord to provide for His ministers. To Him property is nothing. (D&C 117: 4.) He can provide for His ministers even if there is no apparent means to accomplish it. (See, e.g., 1 Kings 17: 8-16.) The Lord has provided food for thousands when necessary. (Luke 9: 13-17.) Providing food for His people when needed is within His Divine power. (Ex. 16: 11-31.)
Why would the Lord give this commandment to the twelve? Why would He do it publicly? What responsibility does that impose upon the twelve? What responsibility does it impose upon the audience? If the twelve today were to be supported by only food given them by believers, clothes provided by followers, material given through donations from those to whom they ministered, would it be different than the system we have in place today? Would that be different from tithing money used for salaries paid them today? Would the supplemental income from book sales, service on boards of directors (which has been greatly reduced and was planned to be entirely eliminated) fit into the system Christ describes here? [President Monson's General Conference talk about his wife's surgery a while back included a reference to paying taxes. She was emerging from an eighteen day coma and her first words to him were about failing to pay the "fourth quarter income tax payment." (Abundantly Blessed, Ensign, May 2008.) These kinds of "quarterly income taxes" are self-employment taxes and would arise either from book royalties or service on boards of directors. His paycheck from the Church would have withholding and would not require quarterly deposits.]
Is the different, more simple and very direct connection between the disciples and those to whom they ministered of value today? Is our modern sophisticated society unable to provide similar support today? Is Christ's teaching on this point outdated? If it is, then can we disregard other portions also as outdated? How do we decide what to discard and what to keep?