“Therefore I tell you, do not worry….” Jesus makes it seem so simple when he says it. Just don’t do it. But I think a lot of us have been and are worried about many things. And when I say that, I may mean me.
Let’s just start with the first admonition: Do not worry about your life. I think the last year and a half the world has been worried about life. Not that that is all a bad thing. There is a pandemic. And we should be concerned for our neighbors and our loved ones. We want them to be safe. So we do the things that we are asked to do to protect others. We stay home. We wear masks. We social distance.
For a while.
And then we are tired of it all.
And then there is a vaccine. And now we all have decisions to make. Do we get the vaccine? Do our children get the vaccine? How will this change our lives? Will there be side effects? What do we do?
And then the questions start. Where before you just had to wear a mask to go to the store, now if you are vaccinated you don’t have to. But no one is policing. And sometimes the people who don’t get vaccinated are the same people who don’t want to wear masks and so they don’t. And how do you decide what to do?
I liked the rules. The rules were easy. Wear a mask everywhere. Don’t go out with large groups. Stay away from people.
I didn’t like the rules. I can’t see your smile. You can’t see mine. I like to go to parties. I used to like to go to concerts. I love to be with people.
Now the rules change by the situation. Do I wear a mask here? or there? or not? Do I hug you or not? Do I go to that event or not?
I can’t make other people follow the rules. I can’t choose for them to wear a mask or get the vaccine. I can’t control them.
That’s where worry lives, in our desire to be in control.
The do not worry command has a counterpart of what we are supposed to do. The word “therefore” starts the do not worry command; so we go back and look at what comes before. In Matthew 6 Jesus is talking about where our treasure is and who we are serving. We are supposed to be storing up treasures in heaven. Rewards earned by loving our enemies, giving to the needy secretly, praying for others, and forgiving people. Those are the things that come before. Eternal treasures that can’t be destroyed, given by the God that we serve. And at the end of the do not worry section, he says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” So serve God. Seek first his kingdom and righteousness.
When those things are my focus, I can forget about the rest of the stuff. When we put our trust in God, we relinquish control. We trust him to take care of us. We seek Him. He takes care of us.
Jesus said: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” He makes it seem so simple. Just don’t worry.
It doesn’t feel simple most days. I don’t think I worried much before COVID. Even at the beginning when everything was unknown, I don’t think I worried much. I went lots of places last summer, and enjoyed visits with people on a small scale. But the more I lived in the rules of socializing, the more breaking them bothered me. At my job at a school the rules were clear, required, and strict. So I lived in those rules a lot since last summer. They became my safety. Here we are this summer with blurred lines on where the rules apply and don’t. And that causes me anxiety. And then there is the normal stuff of life that can cause anxiety.
So what do we do? Hold on to faith. As Pastor Quincy said on Sunday, God is consistent. He is reliable. His hands are bigger than my hands.
Faith and Worry can’t coexist.
So maybe it is as simple as Jesus makes it sound. Do not worry. About your life, about your food, about your body, about your clothes. Why? We are valuable to God. He loves us. And he will take care of us. So Seek Him. And do not worry.
May you be blessed by God’s word today.
I receive emails from Jill Savage. And this week she had a podcast called “Prayers for your anxious heart.” The description alone has some good things to think about as it relates to worry. And you can give it a listen if you want to hear more.