What Worry Will Do (A Study on the Sermon on the Mount)

Matthew 6:25-34

A reporter once visited a widow who had raised six children and had adopted six more. He asked the woman how she had been able to this by herself and to do it so well. The lady responded, “It’s very simple. You see, I’m in a partnership.”

“A what?” the reporter asked.

“A partnership. One day a long time ago I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, I’ll do the work if You do the worrying,’ and I haven’t had a worry since.’”

A 1961 Time cover story on anxiety in America entitled “Guilt and Anxiety” called worry one of the most debilitating ailments of the time. “Not merely the black statistics of murder, suicide, alcoholism, and divorce betray anxiety, but almost any innocent everyday act: the limp or overhearty handshake, the second pack of cigarettes or the third martini, the forgotten appointment, the stammer in midsentance, the wasted hour before the TV set, the spanked child, the new car unpaid for.”

Soren Kierkegaard said, “No Grand Inquisition has in readiness such terrible tortures as anxiety.”

Jesus has focused on our attitudes about possessions. Now he deals with our attitudes about the necessities of life. All of us face situations that cause worry or anxiety if we don’t respond correctly. Jesus’ admonition is not against concern over matters of importance. But the rich are tempted to trust in money and material things while the poor are tempted to distrust God’s provision when problems arise.

It is natural for us to be concerned with earthly things, but born again earthlings should be concerned with heavenly things. How we relate to the physical and spiritual world reflects our spiritual state.

Demonstrates Our Unfaithfulness

We are not to be anxious because God is our Master. This makes anxiety foolish. “Do not worry” carries the idea of stopping what we already are doing.

We should not worry about life. This speaks to the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental areas of life. Nothing can justify our worrying when Jesus is our Master.

Worry is probably the most committed mistake we make. Worry comes from a German word that means to choke or strangle. Worry can lead to mental and physical afflictions.

We must learn to be content in all situations, and this happens when we remember God owns all things, he controls all events, and he is the provider of our every need.

God owns all things. He created and holds it together. He won’t take from us what belongs to him. He controls all things. Think of Daniel in the lion’s den. God is the provider of all things. Think of the ram he provided when Abraham obeyed by offering Isaac as a sacrifice.

Water, food, and clothing were not prevalent in Bible times. Most have an overabundance now. All these things pertain to the body, and life is more than that. We don’t live to adorn our bodies, but they live because of the breath of God. Our bodies live to glorify God.

When we overly worry about something, we dwell on it. Dwelling on it can lead to physical, emotional, and spiritual problems.

Makes Something Necessary That Is Unnecessary

Believers have no reason to worry. Worry and concern are not the same things. There are many situations we need to be concerned about.

Jesus uses the birds of Northern Galilee to illustrate. They don’t sow or reap but get life from God. God gives them resources to gather as well as the instinct. If he cares for them, surely he will care for those made in his image. Birds are persistent in gathering, but don’t stockpile or worry.

The second illustration has to do with the longevity of life. Many are obsessed with this, as made evident through diets, physical exercise, and doctor checkups. We cannot force God to extend our lives. We can worry ourselves to death, but not to life. Our primary concern should be to obey, please, and glorify God.

The third illustration has to do with clothing. Lilies of the field are adorned by God. Not even Solomon was arrayed like them, but they don’t last long. Dried grass and flowers were often used in ovens as fuel to bake bread. If God clothes the flowers, he will do more for us.

Worrying calls into question the love, integrity, and trustworthiness of God. We are not mastered by our circumstances.

Causes Us to Do the Unreasonable

Worry is inconsistent with our faith in God. It makes us like the unsaved. They have reason to worry because they have no promise from God. What they get, they must get for themselves. If there is nothing for them in eternity, they must try to get all they can out of this life.

Worry is unreasonable. God wants us to seek after his things, his kingdom, and his righteousness. He wants us to seek his rule, will, and authority. We must be obedient and pour our life into his work.

Makes Us Unwise

Jesus is not talking about failing to prepare. It is foolish not to prepare for the future. Often, if we can’t worry about today, we will worry about tomorrow. Jesus says tomorrow will take care of itself. Tomorrow is in his hands.

Each day has enough trouble of its own. We are not to worry about that trouble but concentrate our energies on meeting the trials, temptations, and tribulations of that one day. We must rely on God’s strength for that day. God gives his grace one day at a time.


Martin Wiles
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