"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?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor 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? 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. 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 6:25-34)
Do you worry?
I admit I worry.
And, I know of many others who do too.
In fact, everyone worries. It's a natural tendency for us to worry. It's a part of being human. If we never worried about anything then one would wonder if everything is all there.
In this world and time that we live in, it's quite easy to become worried about stuff. Just listen, watch, or read the world news and there is plenty to get worried about: ISIS, Al Quaeda, threats of war, mass shootings, Ebola, global warming, persecution, fires, earthquakes, drought, flooding, increased taxes, plane crashes, mass immigration, refugees, the list goes on.
Even at the micro level in our own little worlds: family, health, career, school, taxes, bills, appointments, car repairs, safety, security, relationships, and more.
I mean, there really is plenty to worry about.
But, the kind of worrying that Jesus refers to in this passage isn't about having a concern or caution about something or somebody. It's about the kind of worry that supplants or replaces the faith that we should otherwise have in God. Worrying is the subtle process of stripping one's faith in the infinite One who has everything in His hands, and placing it into the hands of finite men. When worrying excludes God from the equation, you're relying on your own flesh to resolve the problem.
Basically, worrying is misdirected faith.
"I am convinced that those who worry all the time are simply misguided prayer warriors."
- Paul Richardson
People with a non-Kingdom mindset instinctively try to find their security in whatever they think will ensure that their self-interests are met. They "run after" these things. This is why they serve money and why they worry incessantly. But Kingdom people are to "run after "only one thing: the reign of God. Part of what this means is that we should trust that God will provide for our basic needs and not worry about ensuring our own self-interests.
When we worry at the exclusion of God, we are essentially placing faith in ourselves or in fate. Albanians have a word for this, called kismet. That whatever happens, it will only be fate. But, remember, God has your back. Worrying does no good because the situation is going to play out the way that God knows is best. It may hurt and it may not play out quite the way you had hoped for or envisioned. Besides, we really have no control over many of these things.
"When you're worried about the future, it's hard to find God. When you're living in the moment, He's right there with you". - Edward Dobson
I am reminded of a true story that took place some years ago...
It was October 2008 and I joined a small group from our church on a missions trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. It was there that we ministered and served among the poorest of poor, the people of the dump. A people who lived, worked, and breathed in the city trash heap. One day we took a large vat of food out to the dump. Hundreds of people lined up where we served them a bowl of spaghetti, bread, and a bottle of water. Sadly, after half had received their food, we ran out. No more food. It was sad to see little kids look up to you holding out their empty bowls with no food to put into them. We simply ran out of food and we didn't know what to do. Many of us began to worry. What will we do next time? Cook more food? Buy another vat? Maybe even scrap the project altogether?
After all, we had to leave the dump knowing that we let many people down.
Then, someone got the keen idea to pray.
Three days later we used the same vat and cooked the same amount of food. But, this time we all circled around the vat, held hands, and prayed over it. That God would provide enough for the poor community. That, in fact, God would multiply the food.
That day when we served the food to this poor community, not only did everyone get enough food, but we had enough for everyone to come back for second helpings. God, had literally multiplied the food. We had the same amount of food, the same amount of people, and God provided.
What did we do differently? We prayed. And, God provided.
So, when you worry. When life gets you down. When you're uncertain. Stressed. Anxious. When you really don't know what to do. Consider the following:
The birds of the air. They do not sow or reap. And, yet God provides for them.
The lilies of the field. They do not toil or spin. And, yet they are splendidly dressed.
Trust God and do not worry.