The Silliness of Worry

Matthew 6:26-29
26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Jesus talks to His listeners very plainly here and almost makes us feel foolish for worrying. That is His point. He encourages us to look around at creation and how He delicately holds it all in balance and cares for even the smallest of creatures. Furthermore, He asks a simple yet profound question: who of us can add a single hour to our lives by worrying? As we read in the previous two verses, Jesus tells us we can only serve wealth or God and the obvious choice is God because by serving Him, we won’t have to worry about wealth because everything will be provided for us. It’s like getting a job with a full benefits, housing, and food supplement package. Yet verses 24-25 alone aren’t convincing enough because we are stubborn and prideful, so Jesus continues to explain how silly it is to worry about the “little things” such as food and clothes and housing. In Luke 12, we see this part of Jesus’ sermon come out of a conversation with someone in the crowd:

13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” 16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

After reading these two explanations, we could almost feel guilty for worrying about things in life. One thing I have begun to try to do is recognize the areas of my life where I am lacking faith. Knowing that fear is the opposite of faith or evidence of lack of faith, we can also consider worry as an indication of where we are lacking faith in God. Our worry stems from a fear of not having something. This could be a worry of not being able to have something you want (envy or lust) or something you need. But Jesus says if we are rich in our relationship with God, then we will never have to worry about anything again. This is because our faith will be strong and mature, just as James 1 says:

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

When James talks about perseverance, he isn’t necessarily talking about us standing up to physical challenges and persevering as if in a wrestling match; he is talking about keeping the faith. Our faith is perfected when we continue to trust God instead of worrying during troubled circumstances. James even talks about asking God for wisdom, preemptively answer the question in our heads, “but what if I don’t have the faith to persevere?” Think back to the father of the boy who struggled to believe Jesus could heal him. He cried out, “Help my unbelief!” When we recognize our lack of faith by seeing how worried we are about something, we can cry out to God and ask Him to strengthen us. This is where we grow in our relationship with Him. It isn’t about never worrying, but in trusting Him to take away our worries.

What worries do you currently have in your life? Where do you need to trust God more? Where can you see your self-slavery to money instead of your servitude to God? In what must you ask God for help?

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