…and why we don’t need to.
The last thing I want to hear from someone when I’m stressed out is, “Don’t worry about it!” Every time someone says that to me, my immediate reaction is, “You don’t know me or my situation, so be quiet!” Unfortunately, that person is correct, and their statement is valid. We’re not supposed to worry, so why do we?
Here are the four things we worry about the most, and the reasons we don’t need to.
1. Money (the modern version of Food & Clothes)
Are you familiar with the Lord’s prayer? In it we are taught to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” When was the last time any of us were asking God to literally provide food because we didn’t have anything in the house to eat? I’m not saying that we didn’t have anything in the house we wanted to eat—I mean even the mice are praying because the pantry, refrigerator and cabinets are 100% empty of a single morsel of food? I’ve never been in that situation before. Even when I only made $20,000 one year, my wife and I were still never concerned with the need for food. Yet, for some reason, I still worry about the Lord providing for my needs. I still get stressed out about what I don’t have. I still worry about money. Are you ever concerned with your basic needs?
Jesus addressed this concern:
“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. 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.”
Three things to notice:
1. This passage gives us perspective—if we have food, clothes, and shelter we are okay. I think most, if not all of us, have at least those three things.
2. Worrying doesn’t do anything for us, it doesn’t help solve the problem, and in many ways only makes things worse.
3. God is the one who provides our necessities.
What will I do with my life? Will it matter? These are oftentimes the questions we spend so much time, energy, and effort attempting to answer. Interestingly, however, God has already told us what we are supposed to do with our lives. First, we are to love God and love others. Secondly, we are to pursue justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Finally, we are to look after the orphan and widow in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Outside of those common callings—callings that God has places on all Christians—our job is simple: to walk with the Spirit, and follow God’s direction. That’s it! Why worry about a job when God has already told us what to do? Why worry about your occupation when God will direct your steps? (Warning: if you’re like me this is easier said that done)
The reason we worry about health is because we want a long life, correct? Jump back to Matthew 6 for a moment, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Not only can we not add time to our lives by worrying, but statistically people who are stressed out over long periods of time die younger. So if you are really concerned about health, you should worry about not worrying.
4. Kids/Family Members
Finally, we all worry about our kids and family members, especially if our kids or family members have “gone off the deep end!” But let me ask you a question: when was the last time that the lives of your kids or family members were transformed because you worried about them? Just in case you think it has helped, let me answer the question for you: NEVER. Worry doesn’t make a situation better, and doesn’t save our kids from bad decisions or situations. Prayer does, but worry doesn’t.
To end this blog I want to go back to the Matthew 6 passage and point out one thing that has really convicted me as I’ve put this blog together: as Americans we are COMPLETELY distracted by the wrong things, and we know this because we are worried about the wrong things. More specifically, I’m completely distracted by the wrong things. I worry daily about what to wear and what to eat, but not because I’m out of clothes or out of food. I worry, and you worry about these things because either we want to present ourselves in the best way possible (which means we are prideful), or because we think food is what makes us happy and content (meaning we are gluttonous). We are such a shallow culture that we care more about appearance and pleasure than the things that matter. The things we worry about are often proof of how disconnected we are with who God is and what He cares about.
So no more worrying about money, jobs, health, or kids. Trust God who has proven himself to be faithful, and dedicate your life to pursuing what he cares about instead of your own beauty and pleasure.