First in a series, “Don’t Worry. Yeah Right!”
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.
We live in world that has gone wrong. Poverty is wrong. Racism is wrong. Terrorism, cancer, Alzheimer’s, 2016 presidential candidate debates. The world has gone wrong.
A few weeks ago, only fifteen minutes before I would guest preach at a church in Indiana I got a text message from a colleague in my hometown of Crosslake, Minnesota saying, “Pray for the Smith family. Their six-year-old daughter suddenly passed away last night from an intense fever. She just stopped breathing in her dad’s arms.”
That's wrong. Death is wrong. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus preaches on worrying about this wrong world, and I’m going to read this in the “MHV” version, the Mark Holmen Version.
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life. Don't worry about what you will eat, don't worry about what you will drink, or your body. Or what you will wear. Is life not more important than food? And the body more important than clothes? I mean, look at the birds of the air. Seriously….they don't even sow! They don't even reap to get food. They don't store away things in barns. And yet your heavenly father feeds them, provides for them. If He cares that much about a bird – and he does – does he not care much more about his image-bearer -- you?
So when you worry, do you get an extra hour added to your life? Actually, if you check out the health statistics, you lose an hour. I did not make your body to endure that kind of wear and tear. What’s the point of worrying about your clothes? Look at flowers; they don’t do a thing to earn their beauty, and yet I never blessed even King Solomon with this amount of charm. Do you think I can’t or won’t clothe you even more? When will you begin to trust me? I deserve so much more faith that you’re investing in me. Don’t worry about what you will eat, drink or wear. People who don’t know me run after these things and I know that you need them too; I made you to need them. But seek me out first and then I’ll give all that stuff to you. I made you to need them and I love to provide them. But here is the key to getting them: Don’t go to them to get them; they are stupid, inanimate stuff. Come to me, the author and creator of all that stuff, and I love to provide them, like a good husband loves to provide for his wife. Seek me, seek my righteousness first and all this stuff…. Man, I’ve got hilltops worth of stuff to distribute, and I look forward to lavishing it upon you.
Question: do we sin by experiencing concern for these issues?
Did their daughter’s parents err in the process of worrying over their sick child? These questions are hazardous in their own rite, even potentially cruel, and in order to address them, and this we’ll need to dive into an oft-overlooked aspect of Jesus’ teaching on worrying as well as some health-based research that deserves our attention. This time, however, we’ll pivot out of the “MHV” and into Jesus’ literal teaching, and here’s a preview: Jesus really, really, really sympathizes with us, worriers. In fact, Jesus models how we can handle worry.
Tomorrow: The craft of worrying well.
By English: Cpl Erik Villagran [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons