In my last post, we strolled through an antique store and discussed what we treasured most: things in heaven or things on earth. A business close to where I live sells estate items. Like an Antique Shop, this store is stocked with beautiful things that were once treasured by someone but now that person’s heirs no longer want or need them so they are now being sold. Items people once valued, fretted about, perhaps didn’t use because they might break, were too expensive or “too good for everyday”; things which now were a part of an estate sale.
As mentioned last time, when our emphasis is on the things of this world, we tend to worry and worry can really interfere with our lives. Jesus confronted our tendency to worry in Matthew 6:25-26, when he says, “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 important than food and the body more important than clothes? 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?”
Did you notice what is mentioned in this section on worry: what you eat, drink and wear? In John Stott’s study on “The Sermon on the Mount” he refers to these three items the trinity of earthly worries. The Lord knows we need these things after all a petition to supply our daily bread is mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer. However, we can become obsessed by our needs and engrossed in a desire for worldly comforts. Christ says aren’t you more important than what you eat, drink and wear? Isn’t there a more important dimension to your life that transcends our earthly need?
Jesus ends this section of Matthew with this question: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27. The wording in this verse can also mean add a single cubit to his height. No matter what the translation, you can’t do it. Quite the opposite is true: medical studies have shown that worry actually shortens a person’s life, damages health, reduces productivity, paralyzes some to inaction, negatively effects emotions, and changes interpersonal interaction. Yet we worry, lose sleep, and occasionally panic over these things.
God doesn’t want us to be weighted down with worry and anxiety. The Bible is full of wisdom on the subject. “An anxious heart weighs a man down.” Proverbs 12:25 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7 “I want you to be free of anxieties.” I Corinthians 7:32 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
As we discussed last time, we need to plan for our needs in life and earn a living. But the indictment is the selfish accumulation of wealth and possessions. When we buy into the world’s paradigm rather than God’s, we will begin to worry and once we give into worry it can be an obsession, it consumes us and becomes debilitating. We are filled with anxiety and fear. This is not what God has planned for a life fulfilled by Him.
Jesus told us that we will face problems and troubles in this world, that’s part of life. The manner in which we face life’s difficulties are critical. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Remember that worry and trouble are not the same thing. When you face a problem, does excess worry do any good? How much time and energy do you waste by worrying? Do most of the things you worry about even come to pass? Does your constant worry indicate a lack of faith and trust in God?
What is the antidote to worry? “TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 “TRUST in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:7-8 “Surely He will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, TRUSTING in the LORD.” Psalm 112:6-7
Trusting God is a lifelong process but you will be amazed by what God does if you just trust him. Jesus ends this section of Matthew 6, with this verse: “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34. God will give us peace and freedom from worry but here is the key: our peace rest with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Check Out An Earlier Post in This Series Here