Sunday, 8 October 2017

Four reasons not to worry


We worry about many things.

About school, friends, our health, business, money, investments, visas; how to support the family, children or parents; what people think of us, whether we’re doing the right thing or not; whether we’re wearing the right thing, being given enough respect, whether I’ll get this talk completed on time – and then, to top it all, Jesus says that we are not to worry so I worry because I am worrying!

But it seems here that Jesus doesn’t simply tell us not to worry.

I think he gives us, in these verses, at least 4 reasons why we do not need to worry

1.      Jesus reminds us how foolish it is to worry!

Worrying can’t really do anything.
We certainly can’t make ourselves live even an hour longer by worrying (v25)
In fact, if anything, worry can make it worse! One doctor wrote, ‘Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects the health”.
And there is a danger that when we worry about things that are outside our control, we are taking onto ourselves the responsibility of God.
Yes, we need to act wisely, and make the best decisions that we can, having spoken with others, but after that – there really is no point in worrying. It is in the hands of God.
And there is no point about worrying about what might happen. Someone said, “Never borrow from the future. If you live in dread of what may happen and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice. Worry is the interest paid to those who borrow trouble”.

2.      Jesus reminds us how precious we are to God.

Jesus calls his disciples, ‘you of little faith’, but he goes on to tell them how special they are in the sight of God, and how God longs to bless them.

Look at the ravens: God provides for them even though they do nothing (‘they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn’) – I don’t think that he is telling us to do no work, or to get rid of all our savings accounts or insurances – but he is saying, that if God provides for them, how much more important to him are we?

And he says, and this is even more amazing, ‘Look at the lilies. Even though they are so temporary, even though they’ll end up on some bonfire or compost heap, God gives them such glory.’ And how much more precious are you.

So you don’t need to worry, says Jesus. God loves you. And he knows what we need.

I’m not saying that bad things won’t happen to you. I’m not saying that you won’t be taken at times through the fire and the water.
But know this: that the God who is with you, loves you. He will be with you, and he will give you everything you need.
‘All things work together for good for those who love God’ and later, ‘If God is for us, who is against us?’ (Romans 8.28,31)

3.      Jesus gives us a bigger vision of what life is all about.  

He’s just told a story reminding us that life is far more than about the visible (Luke 12.16-21).
It is much much more than what we simply eat, drink or wear.
It is much more than what we can see, touch, hear, feel or taste.
There is a bigger dimension to life.

The man in the story was blind to that.
We’re blind to that. We are people of ‘little faith’.
And we need to ask our heavenly Father (and Jesus here speaks of God as our heavenly Father – and earlier he has spoken about how we can pray to God as ‘our Father’, and how we can trust our Father to give us his Spirit to live in us (Luke 11.2,13)) to open our eyes so that we can begin to see what it means ‘to be rich towards God’ (Luke 12.21)
We ask him to open our eyes to see the Kingdom and to see the things of the Kingdom, so that we become rich in humility, gratitude, trust and obedience.

4.      Jesus urges us to strive for the things of the Kingdom of God

So Jesus says, ‘Do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink and do not keep worrying’ (v29).

What we strive for is what we worry about.

So, says Jesus, stop striving for the things of this world, for the things that everybody else strives for: what you will eat or drink or wear, and all the other things, because that is then what you will worry about!
Start to strive, to drive for with strength, for the things of God.

So what is it that we are aiming for this new week?
The new contract, the essay that has to be written or the project that needs to be completed, to get enough money to send something home to the family: we live in a very target driven world.
But if we would learn a little bit of freedom from worry, perhaps we should strive this week to be more thankful for what we do have, to spend more time with God, to learn a bible verse (www.youversion.com), to be more generous, to do an act of mercy, to say sorry to someone, to work hard at the job I really don’t want to do as an act of obedience, to pray for the Kingdom of God, and to look to heaven.

And when we strive for the things of God, it is not that we won’t worry.
We’re people of little faith, even if we trust that God is growing our faith.
But the things that we worry about will change. And we will begin to discover – deep in here – a sense of peace.


“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4.4-7)

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