Monday, February 28, 2011

2/28/11 - Do Not Worry

I couldn't let Sunday's gospel pass.  It's been huge in my own personal spiritual development.

Matthew 6:36-54
“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 than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
I know a lot of people in my life that if I could make one wish come true for them, it would be  ....  that they would stop worrying.

If you don't remember anything else from this message, remember this.  Christ looked the disciples in the eye and asked them who of them, by worrying, could add even a SINGLE MOMENT to their lives. He's telling them (and us) that the whole process of worrying is absolutely useless in this life.  It accomplishes nothing.  Nothing.  NOTHING.  There are no benefits to it.

The anxieties of each and every day are a series of barriers that we place between ourselves and God.  Some of are big and have significant worldy impacts.  Others are small and don't mean very much, even in wordly terms.  But all of them are barriers, and truly the biggest impact is that we choose to place them between us and God. When we worry, we are focused completely on ourselves.  Worries keep us from focusing on God.  They keep us from trusting Him, from depending on Him, and from serving Him.

Here's a great objective for Lent -- start training yourself to give your worries over to God.   One way you can do that is have a "worry list" or a "worry bucket".  If you note yourself being worried about something, write it down, and say a small prayer handing it over to God.  If you want, you can write it on a small piece of paper and put it in a jar.  If you're more of a geek like me, you can make a chart.  If you worry about it again, give it to God again.  Make another entry on the list, or put another piece of paper in the jar. Do it as many times as you need to.

At the end of lent, go back through the list, and review the data.  How many times did you worry about something?  What was the resolution?  Did the worrying do anything to help the situation?  Were you able to give worries away to God?  If so, did life get easier for you?

Start with something small.  Over time you'll build confidence in two things -- that worrying is useless, and that giving worries over to God works.  These are the building blocks.  Eventually you'll be ready to hand over bigger and bigger issues.  And once you can do that, it's time to celebrate your liberation.

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