But was the Teacher asking us to detach ourselves from the real concerns of life?… when he said,
” Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:25-31).
On other occasions Jesus showed that his “don’t worry” teaching goes beyond concern for food and clothes. When his disciples experienced alarm in a storm that threatened to sink their ship, he challenged their lack of faith. And when his dear friends Mary and Martha called for his help to save their dying brother, Jesus delayed going to them until after the brother had died– as if to expose their lack of trust.
So what was Jesus saying when he encouraged asked, “Why do you worry”?
Couldn’t we respectfully say, “Lord, we worry because you have made us in your own likeness. As best we can tell, the animals you made don’t worry. Neither do the wildflowers of the field that you used as examples of a worry-free existence.
But we are people. And people worry because you have given us the ability to think about the future and about our own responsibility to use good judgment. You have given us an imagination that enables us to see the good and bad possibilities of life. You have given us the capacity to care about what happens to ourselves and others.
Lord, we worry because we live in a world is terribly broken, in which inexpressibly terrible things happen, and because neither we nor our loved ones are as safe as we long to be.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking to arm wrestle the Lord. I’m pushing back a little because I know there’s a fine line between loving concern, and unhealthy anxiety. I know that all of us feel concerns of life that, at times, eat us up and test our beliefs with the fire of fear…especially for those we care about.
Let’s talk about why we worry and how we are doing in the process of putting some of those anxieties to rest… without throwing care and caution to the wind…for awhile at least…