By Mark E. Hardgrove
Text: Matthew 6:25-34
A lady named Linda went to Arkansas to visit her in-laws, and while there, went to a store. She parked next to a car with a woman sitting in it. The woman’s eyes were closed and she had her hands behind her head and it looked like she was sleeping.
When Linda came out of the store a while later, she again saw the woman. Her hands were still behind her head, but her eyes were open. They looked very strange, so Linda tapped on the window and asked, “Are you okay?”
The woman answered, “I’ve been shot in the head, and I am holding my brains in.”
Linda didn’t know what to do, so she ran into the store, and had someone call the paramedics. When they arrived they had to break into the car because the door was locked. When they got in, they found that the woman had bread dough on the back of her head and in her hands.
A Pillsbury refrigerated biscuit can had apparently exploded from the heat in the car. It made a loud explosion like that of a gunshot and hit her in the head. When she reached back to find what it was, she felt the dough and thought it was her brains. She passed out from fright at first, then had attempted to hold her “brains” in. (Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Illustrations, Stories and Quotes, Gospel Light Publishers.)
Here was a woman who was worrying about something that wasn’t real; it was only her perception of what had happened. When we live with anxiety and worry, it is more likely than not that our turmoil is caused, not by something that has actually happened, but by what we fear might happen. According to Scripture, anxiety and worry are always the result of the wrong perspective of life--the wrong perception of what is happening around us, to us or in us.
During the Olympics held in Sydney, Australia and there was a phrase that the Aussies used an idiom that is common in the brand English they speak there. The phrase is simply, “No worries.” This phrase communicates an attitude of inner peace and the absence of turmoil. It ought to be the motto of every Christian, “no worries.”
In the verses immediately preceeding our text, Jesus had just spoken of the necessity of laying up treasures in heaven. If we are consumed with having and holding treasures of gold and silver in our hands here and now, then we will live in a constant state of anxiety and conflict. The turmoil involved in material riches is first in the acquisition. What do we have to sacrifice to get ahead of the Jones? Are we willing to sacrifice our relationship with God? Are we willing to sacrifice our marriage? Are we willing to sacrifice our children? Are we willing to sacrifice our health?
And once we get the goods, then what? We worry about keeping them. We worry about the taxes on them. We worry about possible theft, or destruction of them. And as we approach death, we worry about who gets what and how much. But if we learn to lay up spiritual riches in heaven, then there are no worries.
The treasures of heaven are acquired through enjoying a loving and meaningful relationship with God through Christ. When we really love God then the fruit will follow, the fruit of a healthy marriage, the fruit of faithful service, the fruit of godly parenting, the fruit of good works. And these things will not come from a guilt trip that the pastor lays on us, or from superstition, or from a secret desire to put God in our debt so that He has to bless us with health and wealth. The treasures of the kingdom flow out of a loving and lasting relationship with God. It is peace to our mind, health to our bones, and food for our souls.
The discussion of the treasures of heaven is followed by the admonition of Christ to refuse to let anxiety and inner turmoil rule and ruin our lives. Jesus gives us three negative reasons not to worry, and three positive reasons not to worry. Lets look:
I.) THREE NEGATIVE REASONS NOT TO WORRY
A. Worrying Does Not Profit Anyone (v.25)
Worrying about not having food will not put food on the table. Worrying about not having clothes will not put clothes on our back. Worrying about not getting the promotion on the job will not get us the promotion. Worrying about the spare tire around our waist will not make us skinny. (If it did, we’d all be a lot thinner.)
Jesus never tells us that we should not be attentive to our needs, or the needs of our family. Jesus is not denigrating work; He is admonishing us not to worry. Worrying does not profit anyone. It does not profit the one who worries. It does not profit the family or friends of those who worry. It does not add food, clothes or finances. Worrying provides absolutely no benefit to anyone except the enemy of our soul who loves to see us so worried that we have no joy. He loves to see us so anxious that we have no victory. He loves to see us in such turmoil that we have no peace.
Jesus said, don’t live in anxiety but refuse to worry because worry will not profit anyone except the one who is a thief and a robber. The irony is that the more we worry about what we do not have, the more of our blessings, as Christians, we hand over to the enemy of our soul. The thief cannot steal our treasures in heaven, but the fact is that we can hand them over to him through our lack of faith and our lack of confidence in God. We must not forfeit our spiritual birthright of joy and peace and rest, for the bitter stew of worry, anxiety and inner turmoil.
B Worrying Will Not Change Anything (v. 27)
We can worry about being too short, but worrying will not add an inch to our height. We can worry about the situation on the job, but the worry will not change the job.
We need to remember this, worrying will not change any thing. It will not change our spouse. It will not change our children. It will not heal us. It will not deliver us. It will not help us. Worrying will not change the situation, but it might make us more negative, more difficult to get along with, and studies have shown that worry and anxiety can actually make us sick. High blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, neurosis, and many other problems are brought on when we succumb to worry.
Before we give in to the temptation to worry we need to ask ourselves the questions, What will my worry change? How will my worry improve my life or the situation I’m facing? The answer is obvious, worry will not change my situation in any positive fashion, but worry could make matters worse.
C. Worrying Is Not A Characteristic of A Christian (v. 32).
Jesus said that worrying for things, and worrying about things, is what the Gentiles, or the unbelievers, do. They worry about these things because they do not have God to turn to. They worry about these things because they believe that they have only themselves to depend on for their needs. They worry because they are focused on the immediate material needs and are blind to eternal spiritual truths.
Jesus is speaking to believers here and He is telling us that we should not give place to worry and anxiety precisely because we are not unbelievers, we are believers. We have been called out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Worrying is contrary to the testimony of the believer. Worry and anxiety is the result of placing more faith in the enemy's ability to attack and destroy, than in God’s ability to save and sustain. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “They that come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (11:6).
We must not worry because we have come to God and we do believe that His is, and He is able to meet our needs. He does not drop pennies from heaven, and He does not facilitate laziness or complacency, but God takes care of His own when they are faithful to Him.
II.) THREE POSITIVE REASONS NOT TO WORRY
In addition to the tree negative reason Jesus gives us for refusing to live with worry and anxiety, He gives us three positive reasons.
A. Don’t Worry Because God Gave Life, And He Will Sustain Life (vv. 25-26)
Jesus said, “Consider the sparrows, God takes care of them. They don’t toil, they don’t worry, and they don’t live in anxiety. If the Heavenly Father takes care of the birds, don’t you know that He will take care of you? You are worth more than many sparrows.” The life and the new life that God has given you, is more than the food you eat or the clothes you wear. God gave you the former and He can take care of the later.
Every day that we wake up with breath in our lungs or a beat in our heart is a reminder that God gave us life, and since He gave us life, He will also take care of those things necessary to sustain life. He will give us the strength to work. He will give us the knowledge to overcome the challenge. He will give us the skill to meet our goal. He will take care of us!
Every time we look out the window and see the birds in the air, we should be reminded that God is feeding them and He will take care of us. Every time we hear the chorus of songbirds in the morning light, be reminded that if they can sing, so can we. God cared enough for the birds to give them feathers for covering, trees for shelter and food to eat. But God loved us enough to send His only Begotten Son to die for our sins. If the birds can sing for feathers to wear and bugs to eat, then we ought to be able sing for the blood of Jesus shed to set us free.
Hallelujah! God gave us our life and He will sustain us.
B. Don’t Worry Because God Knows Our Need and He Will Meet Our Need (vv. 28-32).
Jesus tells us that God clothes the fields with the beauty of the flowers. Not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed in the beauty that God creates in a single flower. The grass of the field will wither and fade; yet God chooses to grace the grass with the beauty of the flowers. Now if God will do that for the field, we know that He will take care of us. Every flower is a reminder of God’s care and His promise to clothe us.
God knows we need clothes. In fact, God clothed Adam and Eve in the skins of animals. Jesus tells us in verse 32, “The Father knows that you need all these things.” God knows our needs and God will meet the needs, so why would we worry?
I remember a sermon that an evangelist preached at our little church in Caribou, Maine. I don’t remember the man’s name and probably wouldn't recognize his face if he was sitting in the sanctuary today, but I remember the outline of his sermon. It was, very simply, “God Knows, God Cares, God Can, and God Will.”
In verse 8 of this same chapter Jesus declares, “ . . . for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” The answer to our needs is not found in our worries, but in our faith in the Father. God already has the answer before we are even aware of the problem. All we have to do is ask in faith, do what He commands, and leave the results in His hands. The old song said, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
C. Finally, Don’t Worry Because If We Seek the Kingdom of God, We Gain The Benefits of the King (v.33)
If we seek gold, we may gain gold and we may not. If you seek fame, we may gain fame, and then again, we may not. If we seek after and fret about gaining material possessions we may get what we seek, or we may simply be frustrated. But if we seek the Kingdom of God, then we find the King of the Kingdom, and that is God. And as the King He has promised to be our Benefactor.
A benefactor is someone who provides for the needs of another. God has promised that if we seek the kingdom, then He shall supply all our need according to the inexhaustible riches of the kingdom. If we seek the Kingdom of God, then God will make us heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. If we seek the Kingdom of God we will not have to worry because the King is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can think or ask.
When we are faced with the challenges of life, we have a choice to make. We can choose to worry, we can choose to toss and turn in our anxiety. Or we can cast all our care on Him, because He cares for us. We can sing, “gloom despair and agony on me,” or we can stand up and shout, “I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who strengthens me!” We can succumb to doubt and fear, or we can declare, “I have not been given the spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a sound mind.”
Worry and anxiety will only take us down the road that intersects on the corner of doubt and defeat. But faith in God and confidence in Him will allow us to sit in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus with the enemy under our feet and a song of victory on your lips.
We have too many people who come to church like they’re trying to hold their brains in. They fret over things that have not happened, and they worry over problems that are out of their control. The challenges you face may be out of your hands, but they are never beyond the reach of God. Put your problems in His hands and let the joy of the Lord be your strength!