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In These Present Times How Worried Should We Be?
Read Matthew Chapter 6 verses 24 to 34. Over the past few weeks the interview question that has been repeated frequently is – “How worried are you?”
In the first part of chapter 6 – from the “Sermon on the Mount” – Jesus spoke about – Giving verses 1 to 4 – Praying verses 5 to 14 – and John verses 16 to 18. ‘Secrets’ appear in each of these. the activities.
There is someone who sees and hears. Jesus makes this very clear. God the Father sees when we mean business with Him. Those who have done all these things in order to see that they have already received their full reward. Someone is watching and listening and noticing and responding.
When we meet for worship and prayer – is it just something that only a few people do in our country today, that many people consider unimportant? God wants our hearts and our love and our minds – and He wants to hear our voices.
Yes, it seems as if it could be a gloomy and bleak winter – but it doesn’t have to be that way for you.
Jesus talks about storing things – and then our vision – and our service – and who we will serve – God or money – a better word is ‘possess’.
Jesus draws a contrast – we can store treasures here or in heaven – our vision can be clear or cloudy – we can either serve God or mammon. How we decide affects the future – whether we are aware of it or not.
Jesus did not want these disciples to be spiritually bankrupt when it was all over here – and we can apply that to ourselves. The challenge here is to invest – invest money and time and ability and anything else we have to invest.
Jesus wants his disciples to choose wisely.
It was Thomas Chalmers who started the movement of The Savings Bank in Glasgow so that the poor have something in case of need. Notice how Jesus says that we must not save ourselves! In a sense Jesus is talking about lust. Can we let go of things, or do they have a hold on us?
Verse 22 – our vision – images related to light and lamp related to our understanding.
Sin has a cataract effect – our spiritual vision goes a little more cloudy. Jesus did not want his disciples to have a blurred vision. Where is our spiritual vision?
If there is something wrong in our spiritual vision, Jesus can correct us.
There are two treasures – two visions – two masters. What we focus on is important.
Verse 24 – Who has your heart? Jesus doesn’t want a bit of our time or our talents – our zeal or our thinking. He wants the lot. He came to buy the lot – to rescue 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 with good things.
We can try and serve materialism – the tyrant of success – the slave master of success. We can use all kinds of things – people’s opinions – what other people think of us. These are all good in a sense, and we can serve them – and Jesus said that just can not work.
It is not surprising that Jesus addressed these issues 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 all about our hearts – Jesus wants us to be different on the inside – in our hearts. Who is your master? What do you own? Then you could not have two masters, and you cannot have two masters today.
Therefore – because of what I already said – about giving and praying and fasting – do not worry – must be different. It doesn’t say – try not to worry or have you considered looking at life differently? No – is a word of command – and also a word of comfort – a word to fortify and be strong.
Verse 25 – Jesus tells his disciples – “Do not worry”. Jesus is not teaching his disciples not to worry – nor to do nothing – but he is teaching them not to worry.
The birds have to go and find their food. Don’t let your life be dominated, ruined or spoiled by worry – Jesus tells us why. Jesus is teaching the disciples about anxiety.
About six times, in this short passage, Jesus refers to anxiety – or worry.
Anxiety comes from an old English word meaning to strangle or choke.
Jesus is challenging the disciples about our pride – our faithlessness – how they can distract us so easily.
This is not a nice psychological message. This is not some sweet and honey coated teaching. He is challenging our pride and distrust and our independence.
Jesus sets before us a way – and a way to live – so that we can become fruitful disciples.
The things mentioned here are important, but not very important.
“Therefore” – because of what I said, let this follow.
Food, drink and clothing are necessary – but not the most important.
This all flows from which master we choose to serve.
He will comfort his disciples as he comes to them to strengthen them, and we – to heal the world that will come through his disciples.
We live among people who are so anxious, worried and pre-occupied.
The seed may grow – but thorns and thistles may also grow and choke the seed – cares and worries and the lie of riches. Jesus did not want his disciples to be like this. This is not how the light of the world was supposed to look. The disciples were to be different. Matthew 13 and Matthew 5.
These things can cause anxiety and worry for many people – but they are not the most important in your life. Jesus gives three reasons why we should not worry. Jesus provides a remedy for anxiety, because he shows how precious we are to God. See how important you are to your heavenly Father. God knows what you need, and He can deliver.
He feeds the birds and dresses the flowers. He takes care of his pets and his garden.
Our concern is to say – I do not really believe that God is able to take care of me in these different ways. Peace and calm and balance are all involved when 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 re-orders our priorities – isn’t life more important than food – and the body more important than clothes? We become worried about things that don’t really matter. Jesus wants us to have a sense of what is really important – His Kingdom – His rule – His government demonstrates.
It’s so realistic. Worrying does more harm than good. He seeks to establish a daily trust – giving us the bread we need for the next 24 hours. You can’t do anything for tomorrow anyway.
In summary – Jesus is teaching about – a cure for anxiety – re-ordering priorities – a reality to be established in the minds of his disciples – so don’t worry.
Don’t worry about tomorrow – don’t worry about tomorrow – because it can paralyze today.
What is preached shows us about the preacher – Jesus is so dependent on the Father. He knew his own 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 dress it.” These words are speaking to the disciples – they are ours.
Jesus is telling us – Follow me and I will help you avoid all worries.
Wealth can be a problem for people who have a lot of money and people who don’t have much. People who have a lot and people who have very little – tend to worry. Jesus is saying: “Don’t worry – rather trust.”
Life is more than food and clothing. Life is more than physical and material. Food and clothing should not be a priority concern.
There is a spiritual dimension that must not be neglected – rather, he must eat 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 place in the economy of Creation – and GOD gives them food.
“How much more valuable are you than birds!”
Jesus is warning the disciples here about the futility of worrying. Can you do anything not to worry about it? Can you prolong your life by worrying about it? No – quite the opposite – you will shorten your life by not worrying about it.
Jesus is teaching us that anxiety is absurd – useless – it will tire you and achieve nothing. Jesus wants to deliver us – release us – and save us – from anxiety.
On He goes to tell us – look at the flowers – they are beautiful clothes – and yet, they are so temporary. And it is GOD who clothes them in all their glory.
Do you think our Heavenly Father will care for his garden – his animals and pets – to the neglect of his children? No. No.
Jesus teaches us that anxiety is simply the result of a lack of faith. Anxiety is a choice.
Have faith in God – depend on GOD – rely on Him – trust Him to provide.
Don’t worry too much about what you will eat, drink and wear.
The heathen world runs after all these things.
And if you really need something – ask DAD. Your heavenly Father knows you need food and clothing! Wonderful!
Listen to Paul in Philippians Chapter 4 – Worry about nothing – Pray about everything – Thank God in everything – Set your mind on good things – and be happy.
These produce – quiet thoughts – and a heart of rest – guaranteed by God.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you.
I call you by your name – you are mine.
When you walk in the water, I will be with you,
you will never sink under the waves.
When the fear of loneliness appears,
Then remember, I am by your side.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you.
I have called you by name – you are mine.”
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