This blog appeared in The Wylie News on March 16 and The Sachse News on March 17.
I’ll admit it… I’m a forgetful person. With so much going on in my life, with the demands of my job, and with family obligations, it can be a challenge to keep things straight. In fact, on Sundays I often hear my wife say, “Let’s talk about next week”. She wants to be sure that we’re both on the same page and that one of us hasn’t forgotten about something we’ve committed to do.
Reminders are a very, very good thing. If it wasn’t for my Outlook calendar prompting me for my next meeting, I’d be late to most everything! Reminders can pop up at the craziest times and in the most unexpected ways.
Several years ago, I was in a very tough season of ministry. There was conflict
all around me, and it felt like everyone, everything, and every circumstance was against me. If there was one thing I needed, it was a few reminders: I needed to remember that God still loved me despite all the chaos that was swirling around me, and I needed to remember that God was bigger than my circumstances and that He was in control.
You see, I’d started to worry about a lot of things. Let’s face it…we all have plenty that we can worry about if we choose to do so: our job, our family, our friends, our finances, our health… and I’d let the worry monster move into the spare bedroom of my mind.
And that’s when God provided me with an important reminder. I was setting up the altar at the front of the church, and the altar Bible plopped open to this passage, and Jesus’ words hit me hard:
“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? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27).
I don’t know about you, but as a middle-class American, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about my clothes or whether or not I’ll have enough to eat. But I had started to worry about my job performance, which directly impacted both of those things. One layoff, and I would be mightily worrying about the most basic of needs.
The same is true for those who were impacted by the tornadoes that ravaged our area the day after Christmas last year. One minute, people were putting away Christmas gifts, and the next minute, they no longer had a house to store them in. In the blink of an eye, everything changed… and worry, stress and anxiety took over.
In the passage above, Jesus is talking to a crowd that had assembled on a mountainside. And at first glance, his words aren’t very helpful or actionable. He basically instructs his audience not to worry… which for me is easier said than done! Luckily, Jesus continues and gives us help in knowing how to make that a reality:
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34).
Jesus is basically reminding his listeners to give it to God… because in the end, God is in control and we’re not. During the darkest of times and in the most bleak of circumstances, God will grant you a peace that’s hard to describe and impossible to understand.
And it’s important to remember where this ability not to worry comes from: God. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, Paul puts it this way:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
Without God’s help, it’s impossible to be hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down without being crushed, in despair, abandoned and destroyed. But with God’s help, all things are possible.
Remember… you’re a precious, beloved, valued child of God. Turn your fears, worries and stresses over to Him. He’s got your back.