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What’s Wrong with Worry?

Published: 8 months ago- 20 August 2023
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SERMON MANUSCRIPT

Big Idea: Disciples of Jesus are not to worry, instead they are to trust God and seek his Kingdom and righteousness.

When one of our sons was a little fellow he worried about everything. He was a real worrier. He’d worry about eating outside in case flies landed on his food and made him sick. He worried about walking past someone who was smoking in case that gave him a life-threatening condition. He worried if he had a fill-in teacher that they wouldn’t teach him the right things, and he’d miss out on learning something. He was just conditioned to worry.

But his most significant worry was in preschool. For a few years, the things that really had him perplexed were who would he marry, where would he live and what colour car would he drive. He would quite often express worry and be asking us how was he going to work all of this out.

And as much as Jo and I tried to convince him that he didn’t need to worry about that it was a constant concern, it weighed heavy on his young shoulders. Sitting here twenty-odd years later it’s an amusing story about needless worry. But in our passage today Jesus says all worry is needless. In fact, he goes even further. He is teaching us do not worry.

Worry isn’t a bad habit, or a quirky trait, or something we are just born with. In this passage, we will see Jesus calling out worry as a sin. And like all sin it is to be resisted and avoided. We will see that as disciples of Jesus, followers of Jesus we must not worry.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH WORRY?

Jesus tells us three things in these verses about what’s wrong with worry. It’s incompatible with Christian Faith, It’s incompatible with Christian Witness, and It’s incompatible with common sense. Let’s take a look

Firstly, what’s wrong with worry is that …

It’s incompatible with Christian Faith (v25-30).

Read v25.

“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?

What to eat and drink and what to wear are not the most important aspects of your life and body. You were created for more than keeping Woolworths in business or making Nike prosperous. God is the one who created you.

He gave you your life and your body.

Ps 139 (when you get home).

You are fearfully and wonderfully made … by God, according to his love.

You were made for more than grazing on food or strolling down the catwalk.

Why would you think God won’t or can’t supply what you need to live the life he gave you in the world he made?

These things should not consume your thoughts and concerns; these are not things to worry about. Rather develop your trust in your Heavenly Father.

Read v26

Look at the birds of the air [look at creation]; 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?

Birds aren’t farmers but they have enough to eat because your Heavenly Father feeds them. Notice God is the creator and sustainer of birds but he is your Heavenly Father. And we are much more valuable in his sight than birds. Are you not much more valuable than they? A question expecting a positive answer. Yes, you are. Trust Him.

We have a cat. It belongs to our daughter who lives with us, but I’m the one who feeds it and opens the door for it and lets it sit on my desk and sleep on my bed. I know, it’s horrendous. Younger me is horrified! If I am prepared to do that for a cat how much more will I be prepared to look after my daughter? You have a Heavenly Father who loves you. He feeds the birds he will look after you.

Read v28-30

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith?

If the wildflowers, the temporary table decoration of creation, are more beautiful than anything for sale in Westfields Chermside then doesn’t that bear testimony to God’s provision?

When we worry we are doubting our heavenly Father’s loving and powerful (and extravagant) provision. I’d love to say that I have overcome the temptation to worry. But I am prone to waking up at 2:38am But when I reflect on God’s provision in my life I am reminded again and again of his good provision.

When I was at Bible College I worried about exams and assessments; I didn’t even know how to write an essay when I started, and yet God brought me through. There was an intense time when Jo and I were very worried about our daughter facing significant issues at church and school in year 10 only to have God literally organise and fund years 11-12 at boarding school.

When I take time to reflect I see God’s good provision in so many areas and I am certain that there are many more I’m not even aware of. And I would hazard a guess that this is true for you as well. But still, I need this warning. Don’t worry. It is inconsistent with Christian Faith because it questions God’s love and provision. There was a great verse in our Bible in A Year (BIAY). readings this week

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Worry comes from ill-formed faith. you of little faith Worry is a sin because it is incompatible with Christian Faith.

Secondly, what’s wrong with worry is that … It’s incompatible with Christian Witness (v31-32). So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. When we worry about these things, these less important aspects of life we look like non-believers.

I was talking to one colourful MPC identity who confessed that one time when he got a last-minute ticket to the State of Origin he turned up straight from work – only to realise that his work attire was all shades of blue! Every Queenslander’s worst nightmare. Looking like the other side.

When we worry about these things, these less important aspects of life, Jesus says we look like non- believers. And worse we act like them. It would be like turning up in the wrong colours and cheering when the other side got a try. Non-believers are most concerned to make the most of this life; to live their best life now, to find their forever home (terrible phrase for Christians). There is a real pressure to enjoy every possible thing along the way. Because you are a long time dead.

If you watch The Block look at the expense poured into the houses and the way the judges dress and talk of luxury or “lux”. Non-believers need to find fulfilment in the less important things because there is nothing greater to live for, there is nothing better to come. This morning’s reading in Bible in a Year…

1 Samuel 12:20b-21

Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.

In the NT, 1 Peter we are reminded that as followers of Jesus, we live as aliens and strangers in this world; we live differently in this life.

1 Peter 1:18-19

18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

We live differently because we trust in our Heavenly Father who has called us to eternal life. When we worry about the less important and are consumed by the less important we a living like the other side – an empty way of life focused on the perishing. We fail to live lives which glorify our Heavenly Father. Finally, what’s wrong with worry is that …

It’s incompatible with common sense (v27).

Read v27

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Worry doesn’t work. It won’t achieve the outcome its devotees desire.

No matter how hard you worry you are not able to lengthen your life by any measure of time.

v27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

This question expects a negative answer. NO! It’s above your pay grade. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that worry and stress will shorten your life. A quick internet search will reveal so many sites giving so much advice on how to stop worrying. Even common sense says don’t worry.

WHAT IS THE REAL ANTIDOTE TO WORRY?

Be consumed by something else. Serving your one true master (The ‘Therefore’ of v25).

Read v33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Our most prominent and pressing concern is God’s Kingdom and His righteousness. God’s kingdom in these last days is his reign in the hearts of his people. My most pressing concern as a follower of Jesus is not what will I eat today but how will I honour God as my King today in the way that I think, speak and act. My most pressing concern as a follower of Jesus is not what will I drink today but how will I glorify God in a world who don’t yet know Him. My most pressing concern as a follower of Jesus is not what will I wear today but how will my life, lived in a dark world promote God’s care and justice.

Sometimes on a day off if I’m busy doing something fun I forget to eat until I come in for dinner. I like eating, but something else captures my attention and I don’t notice a grumbling stomach. I think that might be close to what Jesus is teaching us here. Become, not distracted but absorbed in God’s mission and priorities and the secondary concerns of life will fade as you experience God’s provision. The promise is he will provide … and all these things will be given to you as well.

Does this mean that there are no hungry, cold or homeless Christians in the world? Does that mean that there are no legitimate causes for concern? How do we deal with these very real and confronting things without worry? At the very least we should be a part of the solution. When we realise that all that we have comes from God; even the capacity to make money and have more than we need – then we need to consider how we can be the answer to the prayers of others for their daily bread.

Understand there are also times when concern for the Kingdom is the cause of hunger, thirst and nakedness. Listen to Paul’s experience.

2 Cor 11:23b-27

I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

Did Paul experience hunger, thirst, nakedness as he served and trusted God in all things? Yes he did. Was it due to a lack of faith? Not at all. What was his conclusion? That in his weakness and need God’s power and his glory and provision were displayed. Is Paul sitting alongside his Saviour now thinking that all that effort was a waste of time, or that he somehow missed out? Not on your life. And neither will we.

BUT WHAT IF … ?

What if my child does not believe?

  • Pray
  • Maintain relationship
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Ensure that I pastor the kids of others well (MPC is a church that others thank God for). So that other parents may have their prayers answered.

What if a family member is opposed to me?

  • Lots of issues to estrange these days gender issues, sexual orientation, other lifestyle choices (drugs) and ideologies.
  • Pray
  • Lovingly leave the door open.
  • Billy Graham’s daughter at her dad’s funeral … Black sheep of the family; divorce, married quickly against advice. First night of second marriage realised made a huge mistake… Welcome home!
  • Be like our Heavenly Father who welcomes home

the prodigal.

What if my spouse is dying of a disease?

  • Pray
  • Thank God for the time that is left.
  • Thank God for the warning given and seek to use that time well.
  • Reassure self and spouse and kids of the eternal hope we have in Jesus.
  • And we witness to the church and the world of God’s goodness to us to his glory.

Easy for you to say, Hamish. You have the perfect life, no pressures, no troubles. I may not know what you are going through, but there is one who does. Jesus entrusting himself to God – stepping down from glory; born as a baby; life lived with a death sentence; the anguish of the garden, the pain and humiliation of the cross, the finality of the tomb.

Committed to trusting and obeying the Father. Resurrection showed that his trust was well placed. That is our assurance too.

Our son has grown up now. He is engaged – so the burning question of who will he marry seems to be answered. And he is now willing to sort out the other issues as they come up. In fact, now Jo and I are alarmed by his lack of concern about most things!!! But what if you feel like you can’t outgrow worry?

Listen to the advice of AA …

  • Tell yourself, I’ll have a drink tomorrow.
  • But today I will be sober.
  • And tomorrow you tell yourself, I’ll have a worry tomorrow.
  • One day at a time. Don’t worry about the days and years ahead, deal with one day at a time.

AA didn’t make that up themselves.

Read v34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

YOU MIGHT BE PRONE TO WORRY.

  • Hard to get to sleep
  • Or like me wake up at 2:38 am with things on your mind.
  • Or you might just be a natural-born worrier.

Take comfort in The Lord’s Prayer. Give us today our daily bread.

Lord give me what I need today that I may trust in you and not worry. And that tomorrow I might come back for more.