Have you ever found yourself lying in bed, watching the hours roll by because you are overwhelmed with worry? Then, you wake up the next morning, exhausted, and the worry game starts all over again. The American Psychological Association survey states that the top three stressors in our lives are finances, work, and family responsibilities respectively (APA, 2017). Many of us are living testaments to the truth of this survey. It was once said that ulcers are not caused so much by what you eat but by what is eating you! The question that we as Christians need to be asking ourselves is: Should I worry?
Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-26 ESV, “Do not be anxious 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: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” These words are some of the clearest of any words throughout Scripture on the topic of worry. What was Jesus saying? First, we need to understand what Jesus was not saying. Jesus was not saying that we can go through our lives without planning. Second, despite what many prosperity preachers say today, Jesus was not saying that if we trust God enough our lives will be problem free. The hard lives of so many faithful men and women in Scripture put a huge hole in prosperity gospel theology. So, again, what was Jesus saying?
Jesus was telling us in these verses that before we waste the hours of our lives with worry, we need to understand the power of His provision. We need to understand as children of God that He is more than willing and able to provide the necessities of our lives. The comparison that Jesus makes between you and the birds and the lilies of the field could not be more of an exaggerated comparison. The reason Jesus did this was to show that, if He cares and provides for something so insignificant as the lilies of the field, then we can be assured that He will care for us. See, the birds and the lilies are here today and gone tomorrow. Yet, they are provided for by God’s hand. You and I have so much more than the birds and the lilies could ever have. God has given us supreme dominion in His creation, the promise of everlasting life, the status of adopted sons and daughters, and the reality of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we have been given so much more, will we not be provided for? In Matthew 6:31 and 33, Jesus makes the most important statement of all, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’….But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
This is the central message: We are to plan, work hard, and be good stewards of what God has given to us. We are to refuse to waste away our lives worrying about what tomorrow might hold. We are to refuse to live materialistic lives in which our desires are always for more. Instead, we are to focus our eyes upon the salvation of the Lord and realize that He is our Provider. He is the perfect Father that never fails to care for His own. Take your focus off your worries, and focus your eyes upon the salvation of God.
“2015 Stress in America” (2017) American Psychological Association. Web. Retrieved 27 Feb 2017 from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2015/snapshot.aspx