This man was running down the hall at the hospital just before his operation. “What’s the matter?” asked a receptionist. He said, “I heard my nurse say, ‘It’s a very simple operation, don’t worry, I’m sure it will be all right.” The receptionist smiled and said, “She was just trying to comfort you, what’s so frightening about that?” The man looks at her with a crumpled brow and explains, “She wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to the doctor!”
Hmmmmmm, maybe we can learn something from this!
Worry and anxiety has become a major thing in today’s world. Hospitals and doctors’ offices are filled with people who have physical problems associated with worry and anxiety. I know people who are paralyzed by fear. There have been times in my own life that fear has almost paralyzed me. It’s no fun worrying about things in life. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount about “worry”.
It is nothing new to today’s world. If He taught about it…..that means He cares about it. We will start to look at worry and anxiety and practical ways to lessen their paralyzing effects in our lives.
Matthew 6:25-26 (TNIV)
25 “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 important than food, and the body more important 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?
We have two common states in our life, “when we have more than we NEED”, and “when we have less than NEED”. I would note that there is also another layer, actually an overlay, on top of either of these two states of being, “when we don’t have all we WANT”. There is often worry and anxiety when we don’t have all we NEED or when we are facing not having all we NEED. The same with all we WANT.
As Jesus taught about worry and anxiety in Matthew 6:34, the first thing he does is to tell us not to do it! In verse 25 He says, “do not worry about your life.” Actually, Jesus tells us three times in verses 25, 31 & 34 not to worry! Okay….that sounds easy. “Truth is , Pastor Jan, not worrying is easier said than done!”
The word in Greek used here that is translated as, “worry” or “be anxious” is “merimnao” [mer-im-nah-o]. Interestingly enough, this word not only has a meaning of, “to have an anxious concern, based on apprehension about possible danger or misfortune” but also has a deeper meaning of, “to seek to promote one’s interests”.
Like so many of the treasures in life, relationships, family, love……God’s wisdom is that we think of others more than ourselves. This is the truth upside down, a great paradox, because when we are able to do this….something deep and spiritual happens…we find a fulfillment that we did not even know was there.
In the parable of the sower (Luke 8:1-15), Jesus is teaching about the kingdom of heaven. In verse 14 He is saying that those who worry and seek after riches and pleasures do not mature. They are CHOKED by their worries. He is also pointing out in verse 15 that people who are able to “sow their seed” on good soil are noble have a good heart and, most importantly, “by persevering produce a crop”. I believe that He is also saying that this is the way of finding fulfillment in life.
Okay, we know that we should not worry or be anxious. We know that there is a blessing for being able to accomplish this. That’s a good starting point.
Luke 8:11-15 (TNIV)
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
May you trust Jesus each and every day and turn to Him for refuge and strength. May you not only find comfort from the effects of your worries, in trusting Jesus….may you learn not to worry because he provides!