What To Do With Worry
February 27, 2011
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Matthew 6: 24-27
24No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
Are there things you have been worried about? Worry is a subject that was very important to Jesus. He cares about our worries, and gives us some clear advice about what to do about it.
Let’s take a look at today’s Scripture. In verse 27 Jesus says, You cannot serve God and wealth. Let’s put a more precise wording there. "You cannot serve both God and worry about wealth." What is going to be first in our consciousness? Where is our state of consciousness going to be? Is it going to be on the goodness of God - or in the grip of worry? Jesus tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink, or what we will wear. He asks us to consider the birds of the air. Jesus got inspiration from the birds of the air. Jesus also loves flowers, he says that the flowers are clothed better than the royal robes. How much more splendid are you than flowers. He cherishes us. Put God first on the throne of your heart. Make God first in your heart and worry will be displaced.
There are three ways to deal with worries from Jesus’s perspective. Think of yourself driving in a car. You have a rearview mirror, a windshield and a volume control on your radio. They stand for three things: Look Back, Look Around and Turn Up the Volume of your Faith.
Look Back. The rearview mirror tells you what is behind you and where you have been. Many years ago, I was in my office trying to help someone who had come to me with a problem. My heart went out to this dear Christian. I tried to help, to offer suggestions, to basically fix the difficult feelings she was feeling.
However, I could just feel that I wasn’t doing very well. I did not feel I was helping very much. Finally I said, “Help me out. Tell me what I can do that will help in this situation.” The person shared these words with me that I hope I never forget. She said, “Just remind me that I have "been here" before, that I got through this situation before, and that I will again.” What a wonderful piece of advice for all of us. If you are worried about something, think back to times in your life when you went through very difficult times - and you got through them. By the grace of God, you got through things that may have seemed monumental at the time. Remember that you have "been here" before - and you will succeed again.
When I was a first year student in Seminary, I had something happen to me that was heartbreaking and I was very, very upset about it. I remember sitting at my desk, trying to study, but this problem was foremost in my mind. It was as though I heard a gentle voice within saying, “Anthony, if you are truly a man of faith you will know that I will not leave you in the midst of this crisis.” I sat upright - that insight was so powerful, so strong, so clear. From that moment on, I felt strengthened, blessed, and peaceful. Indeed, the Lord brought me through that situation in a good and solid way.
If you are worrying, start dealing with it by looking backward, and remembering the times that God has helped you before.
Look Around. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air. Consider the lilies of the field.” If you feel tied up with worry, look around at God’s Creation. The sun comes up every morning, the birds are given things to feed on, all nature around us is so splendid. God is showering blessings everywhere. He is blessing you also.
Allow yourself some time to be alone with God. Allow yourself to "be still and know" that the Lord is God. Know that God has placed you in this remarkable world, and that He is blessing you in so many ways right now. There are blessings all around. Take some time to be in a "state of thanks." Just look around.
Turn up the volume on your faith. If you are worried, this is the time to remember that you are a beloved child of God. You have Jesus in your heart and need to remember that God is surrounding you and loving you all the time. This is the time to cling to your faith and to remember that God is with you.
You are a person of faith! This is the time to lean upon God. This is the time to call upon the Lord. This is the time to open your Bible, to remember the scriptures that have been helpful to you. This is the time to sing, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" in your heart. The Lord wants to bless you. "His will is ever directed to His children's good." Turn up the volume on your faith.
One more point: keep moving; be active. Jesus asked us to consider the birds of the air; but someone once said that "there is no one who works harder than the ordinary sparrow." The ordinary sparrow is provided for by God, but still needs to go look for the seeds! One of the favorite things I enjoy about my home is my birdfeeders. I have these feeders mounted on my window. I love to see the cardinals, the sparrows and wonderful finches and woodpeckers that come to feed. They have to work, they have to search out and discover the food. God has tucked treasures everywhere in this world. We need to open our eyes, find it and go for it.
We need to let God bless us. Let God lead you to the place of your blessing. Stay positive, and stay active. God has something good in store for you.
Belief is power, worry just takes up your energy. So Look Back, Look Around, Turn up the volume of your faith and Keep Moving and you will be in a strong position to conquer worry the way Jesus wanted you to.
God loves you, I do too. I wish you a wonderful, worry free week. Amen.
© 2011 Anthony J. Godlefski