On my recent trip to the West Coast to visit relatives, including attending at their church, the pastor preached on this sixth chapter of Matthew. And he told the story that he had earlier preached in a previous ministry on this topic of not over-valuing material possessions, and after church he went out to the parking lot to discover that his car had been stolen!
If you enjoy worrying, you are living at the right time. There is plenty to worry about right now in a world that is terribly damaged. If corporate worry could be measured, the nation right now would weigh in at a rather high number. New president, global terror, fragile world economics, ecological debates about natural resources … just to name a few.
But as a nation we have gone through even more difficult times. I think of my parents’ generation that lived through The Great Depression and the Second World War. My father told me about the scant income that he had during those years, having a new and young family along with his in-laws to provide for. But he told me that even with nothing to spare, he determined he was going to be faithful to give to God and therefore chose to tithe faithfully. His summary statement about his life was that, “From the day I chose to be faithful to give to God, I have never failed to thrive and have always had even more than enough.” He put the Kingdom of God as his top priority with his material assets and life skills, and he was totally taken care of as a result.
This should not be a surprise, for this is what Christ said would happen and would be the experience of those who rest in the Lord by prioritizing the eternal reality of God’s kingdom …
6:25 – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Worrying is easy to do. Remember the insurance company commercial a few years ago that featured the Ray LaMontagne song “Trouble” … that had a dog who had nightmare worries about his bone and all that could happen for him to lose it? It was a great commercial. The original LaMontagne words say…
Trouble... Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble Trouble been doggin' my soul since the day I was born Worry... Worry, worry, worry, worry Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone
The song would have had a better theological ring if it did not go on to say, “We’ll I’ve been… saved by a woman …” I think being saved by God would be better, but you get the idea.
Worry accomplishes little, and it is an action that is merely what people of the world do. Those who have no connection with God and eternal perspectives actually have nothing beyond this world. So worrying makes sense in many ways when there is no overarching authority of a God of provision. But to claim an alleged faith in God without actually trusting in it and in Him is to act as if there really is no faith at all.
So we can be generous and trust God, even if we don’t have guaranteed resources for more than the immediate future. We can do more than worry about self, we can think about how to be God’s agents to serve others #ForOurCity.