The following is excerpted and edited from a sermon entitled “Don’t Worry, Yeah Right” from the sermon series, “Living Right In a World Gone Wrong.” The sermon was delivered by Pastor Mark Holmen, President of the Minnesota-based Faith at Home ministry (www.FaithAtHome.com). Pastor Holmen delivered this sermon on March 6, 2016 at Pathway Community Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. To see or hear Pastor Holmen’s full sermon, click here and for more information visit http://www.faithathome.com/staff.html.
Do you ever encounter some passages in the Bible that you just don't like? You fully understand them and they make total sense but you can’t help but wince, “I just don't like that.” Jesus’ sermon on worrying in Matthew 6 is one of those times.
I’m a pastor and I’m fully convinced that God’s word is inerrant, infallible, undeniable, reliable, accurate. I get all that. And, honestly, I don’t always like it.
We’re trained to preach with the “Big Idea” in mind, and there is no big surprise at the end of a sermon on Jesus’ thoughts about worry. Comb through sermons on Matthew 6 and the Big Idea is always: Quit worrying.
So then why do I keep worrying? I travel the country many times per month and I worry about my daughter, Mayln. When she was born, the doctors took this crying little raisin over to a table and I worried, “What do I do now?!” And then the voice of the Lord descended upon me – which, interestingly enough, sounded a lot like my wife -- and said, “I’m fine! Get over there and make sure the baby is okay.”
20 years later, I still worry. I worry when she gets in a vehicle. I worry about her future employment.
It turns out, however, that we should consider worrying less about our stuff and worry more about the cost of worrying.
The Big Idea: most of the time, we're worrying about things beyond our ability to control.
Thank you, Bible. Thank you, health brainiacs.
The “Don’t worry” message has penetrated even this hard head. Got it. I don’t have the t-shirt yet, but if that is what it takes, I’m game. I’m fully convinced of the hazards of worrying. Yet, here I am.
When it comes to worrying, I feel like the apostle Paul when he grouses,
“Why do I do the things I don't want to do, but I don’t do the things I want to do.” I don’t want to worry, but I do, and I want to live free of worry, but I don’t.” (Romans 7:15)
But lately I’ve begun to wonder if I have been overlooking an aspect of Jesus’ teaching on worry, specifically this passage:
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Jesus is saying each day has enough trouble of its own. I am realizing that Jesus is acknowledging the fact that we live in a world where every single day, there will be worry fodder; there are many situations that deserve our concern.
Jesus isn’t saying, “You have nothing to worry about.” Rather, he is acknowledging we do live in a world gone wrong. He understands worry.
So how do I reconcile this sermon about not worrying against the larger narrative of Scripture in which God tells me to really care about choosing right paths over wrong paths and successfully navigating the grey areas of life? I know this runs against the grain of much commentating and preaching on this passage, but here is the big idea that I think the church is overlooking: Jesus’ sermon on worrying not so much a prohibition, but a manual of how to do it right, and even well.
Later this week, we’ll look at how the rest of Scripture interprets this sermon and I think it could help you stop worrying poorly, and starting worrying well.
By English: Cpl Erik Villagran [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons