Session #053 No Worries
Scripture Matthew 6:25-34
Summary Matt 6:25-34 is a very familiar passage. Yet, Jesus’ teaching about money did not start here, but in the previous section. In this teaching, Henson draws five key points that help kingdom subjects live rightly, and how not to worry. Be reminded that these are premised on choices already made based on Matt 6:19-24.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25–34
Where is your heart? What is your eye looking at? Whom do you serve? Are you laying up treasures in Heaven? We need to remove anything that distracts us from following and serving Jesus and remain faithful in assignments. Though these are spiritual and eternal, Jesus is also very very practical. Jesus does not want His kingdom subjects to have to worry and we will see how from ‘treasures to heaven’ becomes our ‘basic needs’.
Therefore, therefore, therefore was mentioned three times
25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry
31 Therefore do not worry
34 Therefore do not worry
The usage of ‘Therefore’ implies that it is a conclusion and application (NOT introduction). To understand and apply rightly, we need to start reading from Matthew 6:19 through to Matthew 6:23. There is a premise on choice or decision made based on Jesus’ previous teaching. Are you storing treasures in heaven or on earth? Have you chosen God or Mammon? Your decision or choice will determine your level of worry.
‘Do Not Worry’ is a command that many understand wrongly as they begin at the wrong start point. The more they try not to worry, the more they worry. And then conclude that God’s Word is not practical or realistic, give up. But hearts are still in the wrong place. Their eyes are focused on wrong things.
What is WORRY?
It was mentioned six times. The Greek word merimnao is a Greek verb meaning to care, to be anxious, to worry; and merimna is a Greek noun meaning cares, anxieties, worries. This is derived from the root word meris, which is derived from merizo which means to separate into parts, cut into pieces or split into factions. When one’s issue is divided into many parts, it can get complicated.
Looking at Biblical examples between care and worry, we see that Jesus warns of the cares (merimna) of this world that choke the word of the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:22). Peter says to cast your cares (merimna) upon God for He cares (melei) for you (1 Peter 5:7). Unlike us, God is not anxious or worried. But He is concerned about us (Luke 10:40–42).
There is nothing wrong with caring or being careful. But it’s a very fine line between care, and worry or anxiety. Parents love and care about their children. But when the line is crossed, it becomes anxiety and worry. As breadwinners, we care for our families to put food on the table. But when the line is crossed, we become overly anxious.
What are you dividing up into many parts? Remember good eye, one that is not diseased and seeing double-vision? Worry causes multiple-vision results in blurring and the inability to see or discern which is the most important or critical point.
Do Not Worry: How do We Not Worry, Where Kingdom Subjects are Concerned?
Right Perspective of Life & Money (Matthew 6:25)
Life is more than the material things that we consider important. Today, there is a consumeristic preoccupation with fashion and food, and Singapore is known for her retail and food hub in Asia. It may start with wanting more clothes, then more wardrobe space, then more rooms, then a bigger house, which means more money is needed which leads to larger loans, then having to work harder, and ultimately worry. As long as you have the basic needs, that is fine.
Four Kingdom Perspectives of Money
Not ownership, but Stewardship. There are many parables and illustrations about stewards and servants in the Bible. There will be a time where we must give an account of how we have used or stewarded resources, specifically Money (talents, time, treasures). Not poverty or material prosperity, but Provision (Proverbs 30:7–9). Not covetousness, but Contentment (1 Timothy 6:6–10). Not greed, but Generosity (2 Corinthians 8:13–15). What is your perspective of life and money? Do not let the marketing and advertising professionals fool you. Do not conform to the patterns of this world, and stop comparing with others, being covetous and greedy.
Right Relationship: Your Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:26-32)
Who is God to you? What is your relationship with Him? As earthly parents, we know how to look after our children, and our children do not have to worry if they have clothes or food. Similarly, our heavenly Father loves us and knows our needs. God is not a killjoy. He is a good God and a good Father. As good parents, we also know when and how to give to our children.
But these days, there is an extreme of over-indulgent parenting. God provides what we need, not wants. Beware of the name-it-claim-it gospel, behaving as spoilt brats in a toy store.
Right Worth (Matthew 6:26-30)
Who are you to God? You are made in His image and according to His likeness (Genesis 1:26). It is not about us, but we do matter to God (Psalm 8:3–5). By faith in Christ, saved and adopted into His family (Romans 8:16–17, 8:29, 8:32). Are you not of more value than they (the birds and the lilies)? The providence of God over creation (the foreseeing care and guidance of God or nature over the creatures of the earth) ensures the provision of God for His children. Do you believe this? Will you trust Him for all your needs? God does not want us to suffer the harmful effects of worrying (Matthew 6:27). Worrying does not add, but instead, shortens life. It accelerates ageing, giving us hypertension and stress; and increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Hence the phrase, “I am worried sick” for worrying is futile. If you are worried, seek – channel your energies to the right priorities.
Right Priorities: Kingdom (Matthew 6:31-33)
Jesus’ main summary points are these:
- Earthly treasures vs heavenly treasures (where is your heart?)
- Bad eye vs Good eye (what is your eye looking at?)
- Money vs God (Who are you worshipping?)
- Worldly cares and concerns vs the concerns of the Kingdom of God (what are you concerned with?)
- What do you think of first? Money? Needs?
- Or the Kingdom of God? (Who or What rules and reigns over you?)
Seek FIRST: The priority of kingdom subjects should be the priority of the King and His kingdom
Notice that Jesus did not say, “Seek first the churchdom of God and its religiousness …” or “Attend service, join a cell group, participate in church activities.”
Jesus said that we are to seek out, to look for, to strive to find, to uncover and discover what the kingdom of God is all about, what righteousness really means (cf Matthew 5:17-20). A certain desire and desperation for the things of the kingdom are needed. Then we are to live out the kingdom values. Know the king, Embrace His kingdom. Receive kingdom assignments. We are to be rightly Aligned with Jesus and His kingdom.
Our responsibility is the first part of the verse, not the second part (that’s God’s responsibility): Provision for the Mission (daily bread Matthew 6:11).
Right Focus: Today (Matthew 6:34)
Are you Future Ready? Or Eternity Ready? An example of our Future Ready Singapore is that Singaporeans are known for our planning and pragmatism. The government encourages everyone to invest and save for retirement. This when stretched to an unhealthy extreme, we become ‘kiasu’ (afraid of losing out) and ‘kiasi’ (attitude of being overly afraid or timid).
There is nothing wrong with planning or with foresight and wisdom. But our reliance is not to be on our wealth or insurance policies or passive incomes or our nest eggs. There is a difference between financial freedom and financial independence according to Benny Ong. In financial freedom, there is an understanding of stewardship. having peace, faith, and contentment, come from dependence on our Lord. In financial independence, one believes that he is the owner, thus the anxiety, fear, and covetousness as there is dependence on our finances. Too many think too much about tomorrow (worry) and miss out on living in the now. “Stop and smell the roses” as life is a journey but do not miss the ‘flowers’ along the way, the God-moments, the awakening, the nudgings. James reminds us not to focus on making a profit, but not on doing what is good in James 4:13–17. Could we too be overly focussed on worrying about tomorrow, and missing out on the kingdom of God and His righteousness, to be lived out through our kingdom assignments today?
What do you treasure? Where is your heart? What is your eye fixed on? Whom do you worship? If these are rightly settled, then you are will be rightly aligned: