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  • Writer's pictureGWL

"Do Not Worry?"

“Do Not Worry?”

Matthew 6:19-24

Matthew 6:25-34

It has been said that the key to generosity can be found in the heart… or in the wallet. So unless you and I express our charity, our love, our compassion for others... unless we live a life of love and compassion... we’ll find ourselves locked in our own greed... either in our heart, or our wallet.

Of course, our scripture today reminds us of what could be the most compelling teaching of Jesus. Our heart being the seat of our treasure. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Of course, Jesus statement comes in the context of his preaching and teaching as part of the larger sermon on the mount.

Jesus very deliberately, and skillfully, set up a tension around generosity and need. He referred to the two as masters… Two magnetic poles… polar opposites... One worldly, the other heavenly. One is of God, and one is not of God. He says you can’t serve God and mammon. Mammon most frequently being translated as money… But it means much more than money. It actually means wealth, accumulation, possessions. The things of this world, in other words.

And what’s most unique about Jesus’ construction of this tension between generosity and need is the way in which he defines that tension; He defines the tension as worry!

Have you ever worried about anything? We have an awful lot to worry about in this life don’t we? The economy, our children, our grand children, our health or the health of someone we love. The list goes on and on.

I’m gonna say something here that I’ve never heard a preacher say.

Jesus did not say that we shouldn’t worry about those things. Listen to me: are you listening? To be concerned about a loved one’s health, is a sign that you care enough to be in prayer for that person - to offer your support, and your shoulder if need be… You care enough to show great concern.

Jesus never said that we shouldn’t worry (in this scripture from Matthew) about war, the unemployed, and about the relationships around us that we see falling apart... all of these things remind us that Satan is alive and well... he’s doing everything he possibly can to influence and damage God’s people, God’s church... and giving us plenty to be concerned about... right?

So what is Jesus trying to say here in Matthew’s gospel?

Jesus is saying, very specifically... stop worrying about yourself. Your own life. Verbatim: “I tell you, do NOT WORRY about YOUR life.” It’s not all about you. People who get caught up worrying about themselves, their needs, their wants - can often become narcissistic. We get so focused on self, so me, myself, and I centered… that we begin to focus fully on what we need, what we want, what we expect - quite frankly at the expense of others.

So Jesus says, stop worrying about YOUR needs... food, or what you were drink, or about clothing. Stop worrying about personally having enough… because the same God who clothes the flowers of the field, and feeds the birds of the air, knows our needs, too.

And worrying about such things tends to separate us from our faith and dependency on God. Our reliance on God as your sole provision. Worrying about me, myself, and I puts too much focus on me... and not enough trust in the promises of God in Christ. His promise to never leave us, to never forsake us... to prepare a future for us, that brings us to Himself. Worrying about self separates us from God. And takes a host of forms… Spending too much time at work, too much time trying to make an extra dollar, too much time spent on spending money, too much time fretting over what’s enough... and even spending too much time worrying about what to do with all that stuff once we have it. Obsessive worry about my wants and needs keeps me from being in a proper relationship with God... who is my ultimate provider.

In the early days of the church, a tremendous emphasis was placed on the Providence of God.

Of course, Jesus kicks up the tension when he looks to his disciples, and says “you have a little faith.” It stings a bit doesn’t it. Oh you of little faith. Jesus sees those who fail to believe that Christ’s grace is sufficient, that his provision and care are enough, that God’s loving-kindness and mercy are enough, as having little faith.

God longs to be our provider. He wants us to trust in his provision, first and foremost in this life. To seek his kingdom above the kingdoms of this world. And most people simply can’t do that... most people can’t put the kingdom of God first, because they’re too busy working on the kingdom of self. And that’s really what Jesus is getting at here. He knows we’re going to worry, he knows we’re gonna be concerned, he knows there are things in this life that are going to cause us to fret. He just wants to make sure that ourselves is not one of those things.

It’s perfectly acceptable to be concerned for others. After all doesn’t God’s word, tell us to put others first, even before our own needs (Philippians 2:3-4). Imagine what the world would look like if we truly did this, if we truly lived out the call of Christ upon our lives.

Seek first, the kingdom of God, and God‘s righteousness. The word “seek” can be translated strive… So you could say strive for the kingdom of God and God‘s righteousness. So striving couldn’t be the problem... it’s what we’re striving for that truly matters.

And to help us, Jesus offers one of the greatest promises in the whole of the scripture! “Seek, strive for, the kingdom of God, first, and all of these things you need, like food and clothing, all the concerns of self, will be added unto you.”

“Therefore,” Jesus says, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”

Let’s trust Jesus as he cares for us... and provides for us... each and everyday. Amen.

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