As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (Brent Walsh):
The weathered evangelist takes a handkerchief out of his back pocket and mops up beads of sweat from his brow. While he pauses, the congregation fills the silence with amens and hallelujahs. The humidity outside the open tent is dense, but inside, it’s suffocating. The preacher’s voice is raspy as he brings his week-long tent revival to a close with this last sermon. All week he’s been attacking different things that bring good Christians down in their walk with God, and tonight he’s got a new dragon to slay.
“Worry!” he bellows. “Worry is not just ill-advised, brothers and sisters! It’s a SIN against GOD!” His voice cracks with exertion as his finger stabs the air for emphasis. “It’s your way of saying that you don’t TRUST God! It’s your way of taking your life out of God’s hands and trying to solve all your own problems! Don’t do it, my friends! Don’t let worry rob you of the happiness and fulfillment you deserve in the Lord!” Shouts erupt from all around the tent. No one would dispute the good reverend on this point!
Have you ever been told that worry is a sin?
Maybe it hasn’t been framed in such an extreme light. Maybe you’ve just heard a compassionate soul say, “Don’t worry, honey… everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.” Or perhaps, “It won’t do you any good to worry; there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.” As well-intentioned (and sometimes true) as these statements might be, how often does a person hear these words, stand up, dry their tears, and never think a thing about their troubles again?
Can we just take worry in general, put it all in a big box, and condemn it all?
We are told so often not to worry about money, because worrying about money isn’t going to put it in your wallet, right? But could it be that if we don’t worry at all about money, we could find ourselves without any? We are told not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. But what if tomorrow is when your court date is scheduled to determine if you get custody of your children? We are told not to worry about our spousal relationship, but isn’t it a lack of concern over relationships the surest way to make them die? How easy it is for us to parrot a cute little phrase about how we must not worry, but how much thought is really put into those statements?
Each of us will have to decide how much worry is warranted for each situation. Today’s scripture, as I see it, is a generalization of a deeper truth.
I believe that Jesus is saying we must not allow worry to consume us. I think worry is natural and healthy in small doses. I don’t believe Jesus was addressing the wringing of hands as a worried mother waits for a child at midnight. I do think, though, that Jesus knew how easily worry can become a habitual problem.
Maybe this is what the good preacher was talking about on that humid night inside the tent. Maybe he was talking about when worry replaces your trust in God. Don’t let worry replace prayer in your life. And don’t let it rob you of the happiness and fulfillment you deserve!
Thought for the day: God, help me to consider the lilies, and trust you.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.