Today I read Luke 12:22-31. It's a very familiar passage. Jesus says to His disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (v 22b) He goes on to describe the Father's care for the flowers and birds. If God provides for them, won't He surely care for us, His own children? “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” (25-26, 29-31)
When I was younger I used to worry about finances a great deal. That was foolish, of course. I should have trusted my parents. What about now though? Now I'm living in the “grown-up world.” Isn't worrying being responsible, because there are very real practical issues that need my attention? Umm... no. That's not to say that we should be haphazard or foolish in planning or decision making, but there is a world of difference between being responsible and being anxious. Jesus commands us not to worry, and not just about things that are out of our control, like getting sick or loosing a loved one. In this passage, Jesus is addressing areas where our actions do have an effect, like having food and clothing.
Worry means anxiously focusing on something- dwelling on it and being weighed down by the burden of it. But what is the purpose? Our worry can't change anything, and will have no practical effect outside of making us miserable and joyless.
One thing that was particularly convicting for me today was the rebuke in the middle of this passage: “O you of little faith.” (v 28b) I struggle with worry. But worry isn't simply a bothersome personality trait. It is sin. It is an active declaration that I believe God is not trustworthy. It's saying, in effect, “Yes God, I know that You have said that You are in control, but I need to hold on and make sure that things are ok, because I don't believe that You will handle things as they should be handled.” Ouch. If I truly believe that God holds all things in His hands, that He will do what He has promised, and that He is working for my good even in hard things, then steadfast confidence and peace should define my life.
That was a highly convicting reminder that I very much needed! He is trustworthy, and I want to live like I believe it.