Thursday, January 12, 2017

Worriers all, part III

Today we will look at Jesus' command that we not worry. It's a tough one to follow, but maybe these studies will help us to make things different in 2017!

Let's refresh our memory of our focus passage:
 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 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? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Wow. I didn't realize until I started this study that Jesus says "do not worry" THREE times in this short passage! I guess it's good that we are working our way through this, right? (Grin)

Before we go any further, let's also look at three words that frequently are bandied about, but have different meanings:

Concern -- to be interested in, engaged with
Worry -- to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts, to fret
Anxiety -- distress, uneasiness of mind caused by fear, agitation

Concern is something that identifies probable difficulties, but focuses on resolving those problems. Concern usually results in action on our part. Worry and anxiety are identified as "what if?" issues, and are typically the uncontrollable problems that we envision. What if I have a wreck on the way home? What if my child receives a cancer diagnosis? What if war starts with North Korea? The big difference is that with worry and anxiety, there is little or no action as a result of our thoughts.

We do need to be concerned. We need to identify problems that we can solve, and work to resolve them. That is being careful, and being good stewards of our time and our resources. Giving attention to problems that we can take action for, and resolve, is a good thing!
Years ago, when I was a little tyke, and my parents were navigating our family car in between the dinosaurs' paths to get to our kinfolks in a neighboring state, I looked out the window at a huge flock of birds. They had stopped circling and were settling down on a stretch of high voltage wires. I wondered aloud why they were gathered there. One of my parents chuckled and said, "I guess they called a meeting. Maybe they are discussing their migration plans!"  I rolled my eyes and dismissed the remark as silly, but it does make a point for us. Birds do sense that the seasons are changing, and they react to prepare for those changes. In much the same way, we are expected to prepare for changes in our lives.

In other words, Jesus' words "do not worry" are not to be taken as instructions that we should disregard tomorrow's potential problems. It makes sense to plan ahead!
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-29)

So, saving for a rainy day, buying life insurance, or planning ahead with a fully-stocked pantry is not a sin. (Grin)
The difference is, we are told not to be "anxious." Just like Jesus mentioned in verse 27 of our passage, which one of us can add a single hour to our lives by worrying? No one! In fact, worry can shorten our life span.

Tomorrow we'll glance down the list of things that Jesus told us NOT to worry about!


Cathy said...

Dinosaur paths, eh? LOL! Thank you for the differentiation between concern and worry. I’d never thought to separate them into different spaces.

Katie Isabella said...

I had never differentiated between them either! I will now.

Austin Towers said...

It's so very clear! Why didn't I see it like that before? Thanks Jacque xx