Sermons from St Faith's     

Not to Worry!
Jackie Parry, February 23rd, 2014

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?”

Worry! Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a worrier.  I worry about work, money, health, preaching.  I especially worry about those I love and care for, especially my family, just as any loving parent worries for their family as they go their own way in the world.  Worrying is not unique to me, but is something which we all endure at some point in our lives, in fact it is very much part of human nature to worry about things, and being a Christian doesn’t exclude us from this.

But really, what’s the use of worrying?  It doesn’t help; it burdens and stops us from thinking straight.  It makes us irrational and irritable.  When we think rationally about it, we realise that worrying about a situation, or a person, doesn’t help at all, because it may stop rational thinking and action.  But there is a difference between worry and genuine concern: worry immobilises, but concern moves you into action.

In our gospel reading this morning, Jesus tells of the importance of not worrying, of having faith and trusting in God. Because of the ill effects of worry, Jesus tells us not to worry about those needs which God promises to supply, because worry can damage our health, cause the object of our worry to consume our thoughts, disrupt our productivity, negatively affect the way we treat others, and reduce our ability to trust in God.  Jesus asks us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness means to turn to God first for help, to fill our thoughts with His desires, and to serve and obey Him in everything. 

I recall on one occasion that I was very worried about something, and really in quite a panic about it.  I was nervous and irritable, and I couldn’t think of anything but this worry. And then, in a more rational moment, I decided to pray about it.  I recall saying to God, you know, I really can’t deal with this anymore, and I need you to help me, so I’m going to lay these worries at the cross and trust in you, and pray that you will calm me and guide me.
Almost instantaneously, I felt calmer, as though the burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  I felt lighter, relaxed and in control. I had put my faith in God, and he heard my prayer, answered me and helped me to deal with the situation.

We need to have faith and trust in him. There is a difference between worry and genuine concern: worry immobilises, but concern moves people into action. Planning for tomorrow is time well spent, but worrying about tomorrow is time wasted, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference.  Careful planning is thinking ahead about goals, steps and schedules, and trusting in Gods guidance.  When done well, planning can help to alleviate worry.   Worries, by contrast, are consumed by fear and people can find it difficult to trust in God, letting their plans interfere with their relationship with Him. 

Worrying causes people to be fearful, and fear is a terrible thing.  We lose confidence, hope, belief in others and more especially, in God and in ourselves.  We not only lose the ability to act, to do positive things, but we are unable “to be Christian disciples for God”.  Fear enslaves us. We shouldn’t let worries about tomorrow, affect our relationship with God today.

I’ve read that if you did a count in the bible, you’d find that the command not to be afraid occurs three hundred and sixty five times – one for each day of the year and it’s interesting to note that the biblical message, is keen to rid us of worry and fear.  St John assures us that the answer is found in love: “Perfect love casts out fear”. And God’s love is perfect!

Our faith is the only answer to fear.  As a way of living, faith links us into that Power greater than ourselves: into our feelings, our mortality, our limited visions and horizons.  It links us into a community of hope in discipleship, of tangible signs of Gods’ presence, of companionship on the road.  It also gives us an opportunity of developing a personal spirituality, an inner life, and a stable life amidst the transient and sometimes hostile environments we inhabit. 

Faith allows us to face such feelings head-on, to acknowledge their existence, and to let them go. e

Here are 7 reasons for not worrying:

1. The same God who created the world and all living creatures, can be trusted with the details of your life.
2. Worrying about the future hampers your efforts for today.
3. Worrying is more harmful than helpful
4. God does not ignore those who depend on him.
5. Worry shows a lack of faith in, and understanding of, God.
6. There are real challenges in the world which God wants us to pursue, and worrying keeps us from them.
7. Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry.

So, what is the answer?  Well, Faith is the answer.  Jesus says that even when we have faith the size of a mustard seed, it will still enable us to move mountains!  And it’s only when we begin to get that perspective in our lives that anxiety will cease and the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God. Because God is faithful and his faithfulness endures for ever and he will never let us down.

Jesus said, “Do not be anxious about your life…your heavenly Father knows that you need [all these things]. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” God is faithful and his faithfulness endures for ever.

May we all learn to rest in the faithfulness of God and, in the words of St Julian of Norwich, “and all shall be well”.

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