The problem of worry
Worry is uncontrolled concern. It is right to have concern for certain things, but when it slips over to worry, it is a problem. Worry damages us, our physical & mental health – our health with stress, our mental state with being unable to concentrate. Worry damages relationships and work. Worry ruins happiness. Worry brings tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.
We all worry!
Everybody suffers from worry at some time or another, it is difficult to avoid worry. But what we worry about constantly changes. We worry about things we can’t do anything about: the earth could be hit by a meteorite at any time, is your town overdue for earthquake? What about global warming? There are enough things to worry about closer to home.
Worry is a problem for good people too. Even Christians worry!
Why worry is wrong
Then Jesus said to the disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.’ (Luke 12:22-23)
- Worry is wrong because it misleads us about what is really important. To worry about is to commit idolatry – we focus on the wrong things and our course shifts, our focus.
‘Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!’ (Luke 12:24)
- Worry is wrong because it denies the goodness of God. Worry is not just idolatry but also blasphemy – we are not being consistent in trusting God.
‘Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’ (Luke 12:25-26)
- Worry is wrong because it is useless! Like a rocking chair it gives you something to do but won’t get you anywhere.
The remedy for worry
‘Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!’ (Luke 12:27-28)
- We should remember that God can provide. He doesn’t always provide in the way we expect – sometimes he gives us strength to bear our problems.
‘And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after such things, and your Father knows that you need them.’ (Luke 12:29-30)
- We should remember that we are God’s children. Martin Luther said we should pray and let God worry. Someone else said, “Every night I hand my worries over to God – he’s going to be up all night anyway.”
‘But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.’ (Luke 12:31-32)
- Look at things from the kingdom’s perspective. Give for the kingdom – money is not an idol if you give it away.
Dealing with worry
1 Get things right with God first
2 Learn to walk close to God daily
3 Praise God for what he has done
4 Right priority – live for God’s kingdom
5 Right perspective – one day the kingdom will come
6 Share, prayer, care
[Based on notes from a sermon by Chris Walley 4/8/13]