Trouble and worry go together like an old pair of shoes. Quoting from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, a former tax collector by the name of Matthew wrote in his gospel (Matthew 6:34):
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew the tax collector was despised by the people. As time went by he grew tough and stopped caring about the hateful comments he heard almost every day, but the life of a public enemy was lonely. He did not grow up dreaming of a career as a tax collector. The job was offered to him by the Roman authorities who occupied Israel at the time Matthew was alive. His financial situation may have left him little choice, so he accepted – who knows? What we do know about Matthew is his instant attraction to Jesus when He came along. And Jesus, who knows human hearts, read him like a book.
Inspired by Matthew’s heart, Jesus told a story. In His story a Pharisee, overly impressed with his own accomplishments, is contrasted with a tax collector who humbly asks God for mercy.
And suddenly it dawned on him: The hero of the story was a tax collector. Wow, someone like him – a hero? Jesus’s story cut Matthew to the core, and he wanted to be near this man for the rest of his life. He got up and left his tax collector’s booth for good. Even though he just barely knew Him, Matthew trusted Jesus completely. Following Jesus, he threw all of his worries overboard and began to live one day at a time.
Trouble is a common byproduct of living in this world. There is no such thing as an untroubled life for anybody. What Jesus offers is peace in the midst of adversity. God won’t take away our troubles, but He is well able to take care of our worried minds.
This is the way the cookie crumbles when it comes to NOT WORRYING:
We stop worrying by trusting in God.
Have you ever noticed that as we worry, we generally feel responsible for anything that’s happening? We tend to see this as a result of being negligent in one or more areas of our lives. Because we didn’t prepare enough, didn’t plan enough, and didn’t care enough, we now have to go into emergency mode to get ourselves out of a tricky or even desperate situation. If for instance there’s not enough money to pay our bills, now we’re obsessing about how to come up with more money. If we’re sick, we think it’s entirely our responsibility to seek out medical treatment and to come up with some solutions.
Not worrying in situations like these seems irresponsible; however, this is exactly where faith leads us, and the secret lies in the heart of the matter: our attitude towards God and what He means to us. Here are a few common approaches that will lead us into being a worry wart if we’re not careful:
God is my emergency break – Or: Help yourself so help you God: With this kind of attitude God is supposed to come through for us only in emergency situations, things we deem to not have any control over: for instance our house burns down, we get involved in an accident, or we’re on our deathbed. This kind of approach is prime real estate for becoming a worry wart, since we think we’re responsible for everything except what is considered an “act of God”. Good luck with that approach! Problem is that we’re really unfamiliar with God’s caring nature since we think we’re entirely in charge. We also don’t know how to let go and let God do His thing. God will not impose His help if we don’t let Him. So with this approach we’re pretty much on our own. Even the emergency break might not be working so well, since God is no emergency break.
God is my crutch: We need Him only in areas we feel weak, however, in areas we feel pretty proficient we tend to go solo. No need to trust in God in the area of our expertise, right? We feel we’ve got this! Really? What if we hit the wall in the so-called area of our expertise? Now we worry that we’re incompetent. God is no crutch. God is God, and we are His children. We’re supposed to do things together with Him as a lifestyle, not as a last resort.
God is my excuse: I don’t want to work or take any risks, so I take on a rather passive role in my life choices. Everything now is up to God. If things don’t work out, it’s definitely God’s fault. We get into the habit of blaming God for all the bad things and probably don’t give Him enough credit for the good things (or maybe we take the good things for granted). This consumer approach – God has to take care of me – obviously does not work because God is no microwave. He wants His children to grow up, explore the world and bear fruit. This does not happen with a lazy attitude. While this attitude seems to be the most trusting – since we expect everything from God – it is really the least trusting. We don’t dare God by not taking steps of faith. We don’t trust that God has our back so we don’t venture out.
Psalm 119:114 says, “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope”.
David’s prayer says it all. Because we know that God never leaves us nor forsakes us, we plunge into the adventure called “life on earth”; we expect good things to follow us all the days of our life – regardless the circumstances, and especially in less than favorable circumstances. We trust Him no matter what happens. And most of all: WE DON’T WORRY.
This is a very healthy and responsible lifestyle. Try it, you’ll be amazed!