Today’s Grace For Tomorrow’s Worries (Matthew 6:25-34)

MOTIVATE

  • SPBC Sabbatical with PD:
    Over 6 years ago SPBC was seeking a pastor and in their search process wanted to create a covenant that both encouraged and challenged the pastor in his responsibility as a shepherd to the Lord’s body at SPBC. One of the benefit items was to provide the pastor with a one-month sabbatical after five years of service.
    In December 2014, five years has come and in 2015 the Deacons have worked to implement a plan for me to take a sabbatical in the month of November. I will return for Sunday, November 29. My plan is to spend time at rest but also to renew spiritually. I hope to do some academic writing as well as some journaling from the Psalms and various other Scriptures. Our family has some travel plans at various points throughout the month. My mother is having hip-replacement surgery and so I will be out to spend time with her. Following a trip to Iowa with Danielle’s family for Thanksgiving we will return back to minister.
  • My prayer for SPBC is three-fold:
    • refuge in the chief Shepherd (John 10:11; 1Peter 5:4). Jesus is and has always been your Pastor. Where I have failed you, He has been faithful. When I have not led or spoken rightly, He has guided and guarded His people.
    • reflect the covenant commitment that you made to the Lord with this body at SPBC. Do not forsake the gathering and spiritual growth to which He has called you
      (Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”)
    • ready ourselves for 2016+ (Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”)
  • In light of understanding Sabbath and seeking rest in the Lord, today’s message is from
    Matthew 6:25-34 / Today’s Grace for Tomorrow’s Worries.

worry_matt 6

EXAMINE           Matthew 6:25-34  4 reasons not to worry

Worry and anxiousness is prevalent in our society.

  • Anxiety Disorders (PTSD, OCD, General & Specific Anxieties) are most common form of mental illness in the S. with about 18% of population.[1]
  • Anxiety often leads to depression and other unhealthy physical, mental, and emotional burdens.[2] Persons dealing with anxiety are 3-5x more likely to need medical attention than the average individual. Yet, many (2/3 of adults with anxiety and 1/5 of teens) do not receive treatment as they avoid the symptoms and neglect getting help.
  • à If you suffer from any sort of anxiety disorder or other mental illness, you are not alone. 1 in 4 adults (60 million) have some variety of mental illness. You do not have to be silent nor do others have to view you with stigma. Even the “weaker” parts of the body are still indispensable and should be treated with great honor (1Cor 12:22-24).
    • Resource with NAMI, Fred Delp / TACA / Centerpointe Counseling
    • Body of Christ
  • à Worry feeds the body but fails the soul. We are spiritual beings with a human body. Since our bodies are prone to weakness, we will be often tempted to worry – among other sins. Likewise, even our spirits are effected by the sin nature to hinder our finding hope in God.
  • à We all worry.
    • We worry about how much sleep we get so we wear fitbits to measure – as if we didn’t already know?
    • We worry about our weight – fitbits?
    • We worry about relationships – do I have real friends? Does she/he like me? Why do I conflict so much with my spouse? Why won’t my mother just listen? Why is my father so distant?
    • We worry about our hobbies – will I make the team? What will happen if I forget my lines in the play? Why are all my fantasy football team players hurt or on a bye this week?
    • We worry about our jobs – Can I achieve success and perform my duties? Will I get a promotion & salary raise? What if my co-workers get picked for that committee project but I get left out; will I lose my job? Am I putting enough money into retirement?
    • We worry about our health – Am I eating right or will I pay for my eating habits in the next 5-10 years? My friends are dying of painful cancer, how would I fare? How would my family treat me if I had alzheimers?
    • We even worry about our church – Why is my pastor always talking about Reeses? Why is my pastor taking a sabbatical? Why do I feel alone in a crowded church; do I fit here? When will our church grow to reach more people? Is this a safe place for my children? I’m new and need to understand faith – will this church help provide answers? How can I know God is for real?

100’s of topics and questions to worry. Some are legitimate reasons to worry but ultimately our worry reveals our source of strength and our salvation hope.

  • Jesus mentions 4x in this passage “do not be anxious” (6:25, 27, 31, 34); instead, Jesus wants me to work and worship (6:33). Jesus gives us 4 Reasons not to be anxious/worry.

We should not worry because Jesus gives us perspective (Matthew 6:25).
Jesus gives instructions to the disciples. Remember, the SOM is a large teaching section on Christian discipleship. Jesus speaks with authority “I tell you…” so the disciples are to be attentive and act on what they hear. The context of this passage topic of anxiousness is in light of storing treasures on earth or heaven. Anxious (μεριμνᾶτε) means to have a divided mind (“meri”: part/portion) (“nous”). Our English term for “anxious” comes from Latin word to mean “to choke or squeeze”[3], while “worry” comes from the German word “to strangle”[4] These definitions provide new light on what it means to worry.

A first reason Jesus tells us not to worry is because life has a greater perspective: “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt 6:25) The question supposes a positive answer.[5] Indeed, yes, life is more than food and clothing.
Illus:
60’s wore psychedelic colors, 70’s had bell bottom pants and hippie dresses, 80’s had bugle boy jeans and skidz pants, 90’s had parachute pants and grunge… All to say clothing changes and is temporary.

Life is about needs not greeds and God is our provider.
Psalm 34:10 “lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.”

Food & Clothing represent essential needs in this world but to get to the next life still needs God.
à Worry for things of this world fails to see the greater reality of God and the next world. 
     Psalm 16:11 “in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your hand pleasures forevermore”

à Identify your idols. What are you seeing as a greater good than God – what things worry/stress you?
(Sex, Silver, Self)


We should not worry because Jesus gives us a greater value (Matthew 6:26-30).

Jesus commands the disciples to look (ἐμβλέψατε) at the birds and to consider (καταμάθετε) the lilies. The language implies an intensive look and careful observation of God’s creation.

Birds do not sow, reap, or gather – each actions of busy work and perhaps worry – yet God continuously feeds them. Think about it – birds do not travel to grocery stores, nor do birds store food in pantries. Yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.

Likewise, lilies of the field grow [clothed in beauty] but they do not shop at stores for colorful petals or make their own clothing. Further, such flowers are insignificant and easily removed. Yet, God clothes them extravagantly. People are awed by their beauty  bc flowers were much more rare than today – today we are so awed we plant them, purchase them, and prize them as décor.

Jesus’ argument is from the lesser to the greater. If God takes faithful care of these with little value, how much more will our Heavenly Father care for our life?

How does God feed birds? Bugs, Worms, Roadkill, Garbage, Scavenging.

How does God clothe flowers? Leaves that fall off every season. Petals that crumple and die.

How glorious was Solomon’s fame? Lavished riches

“Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)

Illus: Parents

  • If a mother cleans the kitchen and or a father washes the car, how much more will parents care for a child? A parent sustains their child’s life with groceries and future groceries, yet the child complains about having to eat vegetables or when a box of their favorite cereal runs out.

à God’s sovereign care should give us cause to pause and pray at any trial we face.

We should not worry because Jesus helps us see we were meant to worship (Matthew 6:30-33).

Jesus reviews the reasons not to worry by saying worry is in contrast to worship and faith in God – “O you of little faith” (Matthew 6:30). The contrast is with people of faith who trust their Heavenly Father to sustain and shower blessings with the Gentiles (unbelievers) who seek these things without understanding the source of provision in God. The summary statement and command is to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

à Worship and faith – the contrast to worry – is defined by pursuit of God and patient contentment with the blessings He provides.

     à Fight anxiety by pursuing God in spiritual devotion. Praying provides perspective in midst of problems.

     à Fight anxiety by patient contentment with serving others. Serving overcomes selfish worry.

à God offers an entire kingdom while we worry about a personal playground.

We should not worry because Jesus cares for our present and controls our future (Matt 6:34)

A last reason Jesus gives to not worry gets to the root of His command. Jesus is not saying there are not legitimate things to be concerned about or even worry in the moment. However, when worry leads to dwelling on circumstances in the future that cannot be controlled then we are placing ourselves in the role of the Sovereign Sustainer – God. Tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Leo Buscaglia “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

à Worry reflects a lack of confidence in God.

à Worry lacks staying power and perseverance in commitment to God.

Ex. Abraham & Sarah choose to have a child with Hagar instead of trusting God to open Sarah’s womb. Sometimes we lack confidence in God to sustain our life, which often leads us to sin with our own path. As Americans with dozens of choices at our fingertips, we seldom put all our single hope in God. Our faith is divided between Christ and personal comfort. We decline to have surrendered devotion to the Lord Jesus. We seek power and control over areas of our life when we fail to realize there is only One whom is in control – God, our Heavenly Father, who feeds birds, clothes flowers, and who watches over all creation.

APPLY/THINK

  • There’s a burden you can never carry – the burden of sin that must be placed on the cross. Stop carrying the burden of sin, shame, guilt and exchange it to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.
  • There’s a burden that you are carrying alone and Jesus says “I’m with you”.
    “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” 1Peter 5:7

[1] http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml; http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders

[2] http://www.adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

[3] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=anxiety&searchmode=none

[4] http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=worry

[5] use of οὐχί, referenced by Pillar NT Commentary on Matthew, Leon Morris.

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