If not ourselves, we all know people who consume themselves with worry. What happens when we worry? We focus on something, usually something out of our control, and we fixate on it. No other thought can penetrate. It increases our stress level and certainly blocks us from any meaningful relationship with God. That is why Jesus had to focus on this phenomenon for a bit.
Why do we worry in the first place? Are we control freaks who believe we can change things by worrying? Jesus focuses on material worries, like food and clothing, yet he also says, don’t worry about your life. What sort of things do you worry about? Your finances? Your children? Your health? You are not alone. Jesus isn’t going to just talk about the symptom here, he’s getting to the root of our worry and how we can stop it.
When we worry, we are anxious about something. Not anxious as in “looking forward to it” but in “feeling dread, concern, and stress.” This is not healthy for us, and it separates us from God. Jesus doesn’t say we’ll have trouble-free lives. Jesus doesn’t tell us to ignore our responsibilities and just sit back either.
When we worry, we miss out on life. Life is more than just the material things that surround us. When we are good stewards of what we have been given (see previous lessons in Matthew), we should have plenty of food, drink, and clothes to wear. It’s all God’s after all, right? If we are only focused on the external, we miss out on a richer life. Jesus would say the point of our lives is to have a relationship with him. That should be our focus.
To worry is illogical. Jesus uses the birds of the air to help us see that. The birds don’t need to worry to get the goods God provides for them. Worrying wastes our time. By doing it (worrying), there is no way we can add more days to our lives. Instead, we are using up precious time that could have been used for much more productive purposes.
How many of the things you’ve worried about have actually happened? Someone might say, “well, if I hadn’t worried so much, it would have happened.” I don’t think so. I’ve heard it said that worry is incompatible with faith. That has always been an eye-opener for me, a wake-up call. Yes, of course, if I truly trusted God, why would I be worrying. When we have faith, we have confidence in God. Sin is what enters in and blinds us to that great provision.
Jesus says that unbelievers worry about things and spend time rushing around trying to provide for themselves. They don’t have a trusting relationship with God. We are called to be different than that. We are called to seek first the kingdom. The song, Seek Ye First, fits perfectly here. LISTEN HERE. When we set our priorities straight, our life of worry will often evaporate.
The apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God will use our situations to draw him closer to him, and therefore it’s a “win-win.”
Finally, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow. We need to live our lives in the present and be aware of God each moment. Don’t live your life today like it’s a dress rehearsal for tomorrow. Today will be gone tomorrow. So stop worrying and start living.
Let’s pray. Lord, this was a big one for me today. I grew up watching my mom worry about everything. It consumed her. I don’t want to be like that. I want to trust you, lean on you, walk with you, be like you. Remove any worry or concern from my heart so I will be more open to receiving you and your blessings for my life. May I encourage others to trust you, too. In Jesus’ name. Amen.