Matthew 6:25-34 | IS IT POSSIBLE TO STOP WORRYING?
Jesus says, “This is what I want you Christians to do. When it comes to material stuff, I want you to stop worrying.”
Easier said than done! Oh. Stop worrying. That was easy. That’s a lot like telling somebody in Houston in summer to quit sweating. It’s not like I can just decide one day to stop worrying about stuff anymore. I’m a lot like you.
A couple of years ago when the economy crashed all my investments crashed too. My money manager calls me up and says, “I guess you’ve seen what happened to your investments?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I have.”
“I wanted to make sure you weren’t getting ready to jump off a bridge,” she said.
“I live in Abilene, Texas. That’s a bad choice. This is Texas. I should be thinking about shooting myself. Guns are cheap and plentiful here,” I said.
I’m not sure she knew how to respond to my attempt at humor. So I went on to say, “You and I don’t know each other well enough. I haven’t thought about suicide a single time,” I said.
“That’s good,” she said, sounding relieved.
But I added, “Now, I have been thinking about homicide almost continually. So you need to stay on your side of town until you have different news to deliver!”
And in those moments we find out how we’re wired. How anxious does it make you? Are you worried about it? And Jesus says, here is the key: You have to believe in the provision of God.
He paints several word pictures from nature. Look how God takes care of the birds. Look how God clothes the grass of the field. And if God does that for birds and grass, don’t you think he’s going to take care of you? And I think our truthful response to that is, “I’m not sure.”
When we really believe in the provision of God, it allows us to be generous in whole new ways because we know God’s got us. And when I’m anxious and worried and tight-fisted with my stuff, it’s because I’m just not sure about God. I’ve got to take care of myself because I don’t know about God. I don’t know if he’ll come through. So Jesus says, “Believe me. God’s got you. If he knows how to take care of the birds, he’s got you, so quit worrying. Quit being obsessed with money. You seek the kingdom and God’s got you.”
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a much better way to live. Who wouldn’t want to live a worry free life? Who wouldn’t want to believe in the provision of God and find the rich life of community and sharing that Jesus invites us to?
Maybe you can find some small steps to take into that life. God will meet you there.
Dear Lord of the Universe, help me not to worry so much and trust your provision for me, my family, my neighbors, even my enemies. Would you help me to learn not to love things and use people but to love people and use things?
In his classic book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard J. Foster lists ten biblical principles for living out inward simplicity in outward ways. He cautions turning these into legalism.
Buy things for their usefulness and not their status.
Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
Develop a habit of giving things away.
Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
Look with a healthy skepticism at all ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes.
Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech.
Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.
Randy Harris teaches theology, ethics, and preaching at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He has authored several books and co-authored books with Greg Taylor, including Living Jesus: Doing What Jesus Says in the Sermon on the Mount.