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In These Present Times How Worried Should We Be?
Read Matthew Chapter 6 verses 24 to 34. Over these past few weeks the oft-repeated question from interviewers has been – “How worried are you?”
In the early part of chapter 6 – from the “Sermon on the Mount” – Jesus has spoken about – Giving verses 1 to 4 – Prayer verses 5 to 14 – and fasting verses 16 to 18. The ‘Secret’ appears in each of these activities .
There is One who sees and hears. Jesus makes this so clear. God sees when we mean business with Him. Those who did all this to be seen had already received their full reward. There is One who sees and hears, notices and answers.
When we meet for worship and prayer – is this just something that only a few people do in our land today that many consider trivial? God wants our heart, love, and mind—and He wants to hear our voice.
Yes, it looks like it could be a dreary and dreary winter – but it doesn’t have to be for you.
Jesus talks about keeping things – and then our vision – and our service – and who will we serve – God or money – a better word is “wealth”.
Jesus draws contrasts – we can store up treasures here or in heaven – our vision can be clear or cloudy – we can serve God or mammon. How we decide affects the future – whether we are aware of it or not.
Jesus didn’t want these disciples to be spiritually bankrupt when it was all over here below – and we can apply that to ourselves. The challenge here to invest – the investment of money and time and skill and whatever else we need to invest.
Jesus wants His disciples to choose wisely.
It was Thomas Chalmers who started the Glasgow Savings Bank movement so that poor people would have something when needed. Notice how Jesus says we are not to save for ourselves! In a sense Jesus is talking about greed. Are we able to let go of things, or do they have a hold on us?
Verse 22 – our vision – the images relating to lights and lamps relate to our understanding.
Sin has a cataract effect – our spiritual vision becomes a little cloudier. Jesus did not want His disciples to have a blurred vision. Where is our spiritual vision?
If there is something wrong with our spiritual vision, Jesus is able to correct us.
There are two treasures – two visions – two masters. What we focus on is important.
Verse 24 – Who has won your heart? Jesus wants little of our time or our talents—of our diligence or our thoughtfulness. He wants a lot. He came to buy the part – to save and buy everything – every part of me.
Jesus wants to bless every part of our lives – and that’s why we can’t really serve God and riches.
We can try to serve materialism – the tyrant of success – the master slave of achievement. We can serve all kinds – people’s opinion – what others think of us. These are all riches in a sense, and we can serve them – and Jesus says it just can’t work.
No wonder Jesus addresses these matters of the heart right at the beginning of His ministry. Matthew 22 verses 34 to 40 – Love the Lord your God.
This section is really about our heart – Jesus wants us to be different on the inside – in our heart. Who is your master? What owns you? You couldn’t have two masters then, and you can’t have two masters today.
Therefore – because of what I have already said – about giving, forgiveness and fasting – do not worry – be different. He doesn’t say – try not to worry or have you thought about looking at life differently? No – it is a word of command – and also a word of comfort – a word of strength and fort.
Verse 25 – Jesus tells His disciples – “Don’t worry.” Jesus is not teaching His disciples not to care—nor to do anything—but He is teaching them not to worry.
Birds have to go and find their food. Don’t let your life be dominated, destroyed or ruined by worries – Jesus shows us why. Jesus is teaching the disciples about anxiety.
About six times, in this short passage, Jesus refers to being troubled—or troubled.
Worry comes from an Old English word meaning to suffocate or suffocate.
Jesus is challenging the disciples about our pride – our unbelief – the ways in which we can be so easily distracted.
This is not a good psychological message. This is not a sweet and honey-coated lesson. He is challenging our pride, distrust and independence.
Jesus lays out a way for us – and a way to live – so that we can be fruitful disciples.
These things mentioned here are important, but they are not extremely important.
“Therefore” – because of what I have said, let this follow.
Food, drink and clothing are necessary – but not the most important.
It all comes down to which master we choose to serve.
He is comforting His disciples as He steps alongside them to strengthen them, and us – to heal the world that will be reached through His disciples.
We live among people who are so restless, anxious and preoccupied.
The seed may grow – but thorns and thistles may also grow and choke the seed – worries and cares and the deception of wealth. Jesus did not want His disciples to be like that. That would not be the light of the world. The disciples had to be different. Matthew 13 and Matthew 5.
These things may be a cause of worry and anxiety for many people – but they are not the most important things in your life. Jesus gives three reasons why we should not worry. Jesus provides a cure for anxiety as He shows how valuable we are to God. See how important you are to your heavenly Father. God knows what you need and He can give it to you.
He feeds the birds and dresses the flowers. He cares for His pets and His garden.
Our concern is to say – I don’t really believe that God is able to take care of me in these different ways. Peace, quiet, and tranquility are all involved as we accept these words of Jesus. So many people are worried.
Look at the Cross if you want to know how much you mean to God.
It rearranges our priorities – isn’t life more important than food – and the body more important than clothes? We get worried about things that aren’t really that important. Jesus wants us to have a sense of what is really important – His reign – His rule – His government demonstrated.
He is so realistic. Worrying does more harm than good. He seeks to create a daily faith – he gives us the bread we need for the next 24 hours. You can’t do anything about tomorrow anyway.
To summarize – Jesus is teaching – a cure for anxiety – rearranged priorities – a realism that needs to be set in the minds of His disciples – so don’t worry.
Don’t be anxious about tomorrow – don’t worry about tomorrow – because it can paralyze your today.
What is preached leads us to the preacher – Jesus was so dependent on the Father. He knew His worth in the eyes of God the Father.
“Do not worry about your life – what you will eat – or about your body and how you will wear it.” These words are spoken to the disciples – they are for us.
Jesus is telling us – Follow Me and I will help you avoid all worries.
Wealth can be a problem for those who have a lot of money as well as for those who don’t have much. Those who have too much and those who have too little – tend to worry. Jesus is saying “Don’t worry – rather have faith”.
Life is more than food and clothing. Life is more than physical and material things. Food and clothing should not be a priority concern.
There is a spiritual dimension that should not be neglected – on the contrary, it should be nourished with good food. Jesus is encouraging His disciples to be concerned about their spiritual growth, development, and well-being.
Look at the ravens – they don’t do much work – they don’t sow or reap – they accept their appointed place in the economy of Creation – and God feeds them.
“How much more valuable you are than birds!”
Jesus is warning the disciples here about the futility of worry. Can you do anything by worrying about it? Can you prolong your life by worrying about it? No – on the contrary – you will shorten your life by worrying about it.
Jesus is teaching us that worry is absurd – pointless – it will wear you out and accomplish nothing. Jesus wants to set us free – set us free – and save us – from worry.
He goes to tell us – look at the flowers – they are beautifully dressed – and yet, they are so temporary. And it is God Who dresses them in all their splendor.
Do you think our Heavenly Father will care more for His garden – His animals and pets – to the neglect of His children? No. No.
Jesus teaches us that worry is simply the result of a lack of faith. Anxiety is a choice.
Have faith in God – depend on God – lean on Him – trust Him to provide.
Don’t worry too much about what to eat, drink and wear.
The heathen world runs after all these things.
And if you really need something – ask dad. Your heavenly Father knows that you need food and clothing! Wonderful!
Listen to Paul in Philippians chapter 4 – Be anxious about nothing – Pray about everything – Give thanks to God in everything – Set your mind on good things – and be content.
These produce – quiet thoughts – and a quiet heart – guaranteed by God.
“Do not be afraid, because I have redeemed you.
I have called you by your name – you are mine.
When you walk on the waters, I will be with you,
you will never sink under the waves.
When the fear of loneliness is approaching,
then remember, I’m on your side.
“Do not be afraid, because I have redeemed you.
I have called you by your name – you are mine.”
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