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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

No need to worry

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Why did Jesus come?

A model of a mighty man

Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III

“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 … And why do you worry about clothes? … 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?’” Matthew 6:25-26, 28, 30-31 NIV (italics and underline for emphasis)

A past president of the American Rheumatism Association claimed that a woman once came to him with gall bladder trouble. She said, “I am going to die.” The gall bladder operation was successfully performed, but she did die. The autopsy revealed that she just worried herself to death.

Most of us, if not all, have befriended worry at some point in life. Worrying is not peculiar to our modern society. The “Ebers Papyrus,” one of the oldest preserved Egyptian medical books written about 1500 B.C., informs that people who lived then worried about some of the same things people worry about today. It prescribes remedies for such things as asthma, intestinal problems, cancer, eye conditions, urological complaints, hair loss and graying, etc.

In this portion of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 6:25-34), Jesus addresses one of the most physically and spiritually damaging agents to humanity — worry. Worry means to be “anxious, troubled with cares,” or to “trouble one’s mind.”

On one end, concern can be positive; an appropriate expression of feeling and care when directed at right things which causes proper action for things pertaining to the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 7:32) and for people’s welfare (Phil. 2:20).

On the other end, concern negatively expressed with intense feelings of anxiety about issues of life is inappropriate being misdirected and wrongly projecting a lack of trust in God. It is to this expression of concern that Jesus provides spiritual correction in his sermon. It also bears practical instruction not to misuse and consume our emotional capacity with worry, which can debilitate one’s intellectual abilities and capabilities.

Jesus states, “do not worry about your life” as to what you will eat, drink, wear, or about tomorrow. Do not worry about the necessities of life today and about your future. He was clearly commanding his hearers to simply stop worrying, especially if their trust is placed in the God who provides and their priority is his kingdom (Matt. 6:20, 22, 24, 33).

I am sure those listening to Jesus, of whom many may have been struggling, experiencing employment or economic challenges, said within themselves (as you might be saying right now), “that is easier said than done.”

Interestingly in this discourse Jesus directly inquires of the hearers, “why do you worry [about these things]?” Have you ever asked yourself that question in your moments of anxious concern? As Jesus weaves through life concerns, he offers four reasons why we need not worry about our lives.

I like how John MacArthur summarizes Jesus’ reasons. Worry is unfaithful to our Master who values our lives more than food and clothing (verse 25). Worry is unnecessary because we are more valuable to our Father than the birds he faithfully feeds and the fields he beautifully clothes (verses 26, 30). Worry is unreasonable because our faith is claim to God’s provision (verses 32, 33). Worry is unwise because our future is assured in the hand and grace of God (verse 34).

In considering these four reasons, there truly is no need to worry about our lives. Yet, if worry knocks at your door, pray on it trusting and thanking God for his peace and provision (Phil. 4:6-7).

Rev. Johnson Beaven III is a speaker, theological educator, and ministry mentor. For more information, view linktr.ee/johnsonbeaven. Contact him via email at jb3ministries@gmail.com or Twitter @jbeaven.

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