Matthew 6:25-34 — Jesus, Friends from Haiti, and A Song from 130 Years Ago & What They Teach Us About Worry

Posted: October 26, 2015 in 40-Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 6:25-34
Do Not Worry

Are you sitting at the table in your kitchen right now worrying about how to pay the bills? Do you have more month left over than you have money? Living the American dream, right? Where does it get us? The newest cars, the finest houses, all the best toys inside the house, and we just accept that this is the way that life is supposed to be. We think that desiring and having the newest everything as the way everyone should be acting. We complain about the lack of ambition of our children but yet we spoil them with every imaginable thing. We are no different as we acquire things we want but cannot afford. Just put it on the credit card. Apply for another one when that one gets maxed out. Why do we live this way and accept that this is the way it is. Worry over money, food, and shelter is an American obsession.

But, yet, I have been to Haiti where the standard of living by American measures is desperately poor. However, the people that I have met there through the local church in Jacmel that my church is partnered with there are some of the happiest, most joyous people I’ve ever met. Their joy is in the Lord. Praise and worship is maxed out there on Sunday mornings and these people just plain out love the Lord. Joy that comes from the Lord is not about having the finest of everything. Joy that comes from the Lord is just joy no matter the circumstance. We can learn some life-changing lessons from our friends in Jacmel, Haiti.

As we continue on in the Sermon on the Mount (which continues on until Matthew 7:29), we now enter one of my favorite passages from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus here talks about our preoccupation with worry. Here, Jesus says,

“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 than food, and the body more 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The first thing that you notice here is that in Verses 25-27, Jesus is saying that we are making life too complex with worry. He says just look at the birds of the world. They do not have the natural intelligence that man does, nor do they create new things from the materials of earth, but God takes care of them nonetheless. Birds always have insects and bugs available for their nourishment. So, why do we worry? Are we not the most important thing in the world to God? Thus, worry adds nothing to our life. Indeed, it actually takes away from our life. Worry sucks joy out of our lives. Worry is about something that has not happened yet. Worry makes you focus on things other than the reality that you exist in this moment. Haven’t you found that the people that you have encountered in life that are the most unhappy are those that worry all the time. Worry never accomplishes anything. Worry has never accomplished a project. Worry has never taken an exam. Worry has never paid a bill. Worry is worthless. There are people that each of us knows that worry about what they are going to worry about tomorrow. We all know people who get worried when they have nothing to worry about.

In Verses 28-31, he asks us why we worry so much about what we will wear and what we will eat. The lilies of the field are clothed and taken care by the Lord, so why if he takes care of these seemingly insignificant things that only beautify our world, why would he not take care of us. In a sermon I read at, the writer said,

“Do an analysis of any typical women’s magazine or men’s magazine and you will find it is preoccupied with the very things Jesus told us not to worry about – with clothes, food and drink. Most of the advertisements will focus on the body: with how to shape it, how to ‘take four-and-a-half inches off without moving an inch’; with how to make it more attractive; how to ‘love your lips’, and make them alluring, smooth and more kissable; with how to look younger; how to rejuvenate your skin and make it as soft as a baby’s skin.”

I am not just picking on women here, though there are a lot more women’s magazines out there than men’s. But, we men are not immune, we are taught to want the finest cars, the finest homes, the best job, the trophy wife and so on. We lust after things that do not fill our soul. And, as such, we continue wanting more and more material things. Jesus is telling us that there is more to life than material things. Material things are trivial in the end as I have yet to hear of anyone who took all of the toys they accumulated here on earth with them into the afterlife. Thus, worrying over worldly things simply is like trying to hold on to vapor. Worrying over worldly things simply does not make sense. It is illogical to worry over something that do not last. We should look at the birds of the sky and the lilies of the field. They do not worry over such things. God takes care of all creatures. Most assuredly he will take care of us. Let’s get our mind off these fleeting things and focus on our relationship with God. Worry, thus, gets in the way of our relationship with God. It takes our eyes off him. Anything that comes between God and us is an idol. The things that we obsess over – money, food, clothing – can dominate our lives so much that they become more important than our relationship with God. Yesterday, we talked about how we Americans typically live off of 104% of what we make. We can become so obsessed with having things and then become so overwhelmed with the debt associated with it that we let the maintenance of our budget, or the lack thereof, become our god. It can be so refreshing when you decide that instead of buying the next greatest thing that we begin using our tax refunds to pay off debts. It can be refreshing when we pay off cars instead of trading every two or three years. It can be refreshing when we decide that enough is enough. It is so awesome when we get our expenses under 100% of our income. Think about it. How long do new things make you happy? Not very long. Then, you become slaves to paying for them.

In Verses 32-33, we re-read, “31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” My take on this is that worry is not the trademark of a true God-loving Jesus follower. It is un-Christian. As Christians, when we worry, we are saying to God, “Hey, I don’t really trust you, Lord”. When we worry over things, we are not trusting God. Faith and worry … aren’t they the antithesis of one another. In that sermon, I referenced above, the writer also said, “Why pray when you can worry!” Faith means trust. Trust in God’s care and provision. To be a Christian is to walk in a trusting relationship with God. But sin interferes with that relationship and leads to worry. Worry misses the point of life, is illogical, a waste of time and incompatible with faith. The essence of being a Christ follower is saying to God, I cannot handle this alone. I need you. I lay all my stuff at your feet. Help me. I put my total faith and trust in you. If we do not put our faith and trust in God…hand it all over to him and trust that he will provide for our needs, we are cheating God. We are especially cheating ourselves of the full value of our relationship with God. Worry drops you into the realm of a non-believer. Having a primary concern with material needs is the characteristic of unbelievers says Jesus. Some of these worries may be modest, such as food, drink and clothing. But others are more commonly found in our lives – a bigger house, a new car, a better salary, reputation, fame or power. But all these are pagan because they are self-centered and do not satisfy. When we trust in Jesus and receive him as our Lord and Savior we are born into his family and become children of God. We can be assured that God knows our every need. If our loving Father knows our needs we can trust him for them. Not our wants but certainly our needs. Worry misses the point of life, is illogical, a waste of time, incompatible with faith and is actually something far less than Christian.

Finally, as we re-read the final two verses of this passage again, Jesus says, “33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Jesus is imploring us to put our full faith and trust in him. Think of how relieving it would be to truly put our faith, hope, and trust in God. The apostle Paul also writes, ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ (Romans 8:28). Sometimes, as Paul knew only too well and as Jesus experienced, our situation may be difficult or painful. Yet God will walk with us and hold our hand and uses adversity to build our character. If we are child-like in our trust in God, no matter what we are going through we know that He is using the situation to mold us into the person, the servant that He wants us to be. Paul is such a superb example of a man that knew adversity and troubles…a man who by human standards had a right to worry. However, Paul was child-like in his trust and faith in God. As Jesus later says in Mark 10:15, “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Paul knew that whatever was happening in his life, it was for God’s purpose and that it was not for Him to complain about or question. God does actually have our best interest at heart as we play our role in His grand plan. I read somewhere or heard someone, somewhere say, “Worry is an invitation to prayer.” We must remind ourselves that God has got our back. My friends in Jacmel, Haiti taught me that just by observing how they lived their lives. We obsess about what we don’t have and don’t trust God to provide. They praise God for what they do have and trust Him to provide what they need to survive.

Sure, God want us to plan and not just take life as it comes and be oblivious to our responsibilities in life just so we will not worry. There is a difference between good planning and worrying. Good planning often prevents worry. If you have a good plan for money, it works for you instead of you working for it. Planning for retirement helps you alleviate worry over what is going to happen when you retire. Having a monthly spending plan and sticking to it helps alleviate worry about how you are going to pay your bills. Spending plans help us have discipline about spending and help us reach our goals instead of just spending foolishly and then obsessing over how we are going to pay for our momentary lapses of reason. What God does not want is for us to ignore that He should be the center of our lives. What God does not want is for us to live our lives in such a manner that our things become our gods. What God does not want is for us to live our lives where non-eternal things become the central focus and not Him. There is a an old hymn written by John Sammis back in 1887 that says it best,
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

ot a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Amen and Amen.

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