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Jesus’ antidote to worry

November 25, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? 27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. 30 If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? 31 Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ 32 Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Today’s passage may feel radical, against all common sense. That may have been even more true for Jesus’ first hearers. “Jesus’ audience would have been ordinary peasant people who had to worry about their next meal all the time, yet Jesus tells them not to worry about anything. He asks them instead to view the world with new eyes, in order to see all around them evidence of God’s care and provision.” * Jesus warned against worry, not against planning.

  • Jesus seemed to anticipate modern research, saying, “Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?” (verse 27) In fact, worry shortens our life! What inner claims, if any, do you make about why it “makes sense” for you to worry, or why it would be “irresponsible” not to worry? How can you distinguish needs from wants, and make plans without worrying?
  • Jesus didn’t condemn planning if we do it with our values straight. How easy or hard do you find it to live out Jesus’ wisdom to “desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness”? What wishes or dreams matter so much to you that (if you’re honest) you might want them more than God’s kingdom and righteousness? What choices have you made (or do you want to make) to keep those wishes and dreams in proper perspective?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you modeled a life of peace and trust. Help me to keep learning how to live a life in which my energy can focus on your purposes rather than my fears. Amen.

GPS Insights

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe & his wife, Doris, first met in a Resurrection Single Adult Sunday School class in 1997 & were married in what is now the Student Center. They are empty nesters with 2 college-aged sons, Matthew & Jacob. Darren serves as a Couples Small Group co-leader & Men's Group Leader, while volunteering in a variety of other capacities at Resurrection.

As we commemorate Thanksgiving weekend, I thought we might consider the history & significance of one of my favorite hymns, “We Gather Together.” Every Thanksgiving, my family sings this hymn accompanied by my Mom on the piano. While the hymn is traditionally sung the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the song’s history has a bit more depth.

A Dentist’s Favorite Hymn? Crown Him with Many Crowns

Our story begins in 1568 with the 80-Year War that was initially sparked by the Reformation movement spreading throughout the Low Countries (Netherlands, Belgium, & Luxemburg) that lead to an all-out war between Dutch Protestants & the Catholic Church/Spanish Empire. King Phillip II of Spain, one of the leaders of the Spanish Inquisition, was so ruthless in his persecution of Dutch Protestants that the conflict expanded to all Dutch factions & become a fight not just for religious freedom, but decentralized government & lower taxes. (The Dutch Independence Act would argue for a constitutional/republican government & the right to depose kings. It would be a pre-curser for our own Declaration of Independence & Constitution.) Our hymn was written to celebrate the victory of the Dutch over the Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout in 1597.

A Golfer’s Favorite Hymn? There’s a Green Hill Far Away

Let’s take a look at the verses in our hymn & see how they might apply to us 400 years later:

A Meteorologist’s Favorite Hymn? There shall be Showers of Blessings

The simple opening phrase, “We gather together,” seems rather innocuous, but during the decades of persecution, it was illegal for Dutch Protestants to congregate. As our friends opened the church doors to let the fresh air in, dusted the pews, & prepared the altar for worship for the 1st time in decades, one can easily imagine the sheer joy they experienced as they were finally free to worship God. During the Covid years, we got a glimpse of what it felt like to not be able to gather together, be it for worship, small groups, or even with friends & family. Perhaps we should make sure we don’t take the benefits of being in a community for granted & take advantage of each & every one of these opportunities as often as we can.

A Gossips’ Favorite Hymn? Pass it On

The next phrase, “to ask the Lord’s blessing,” is remarkable. In the midst of 600,000-700,000 deaths, villages razed, & millions of people displaced our Dutch author still hopes for a better tomorrow & boldly asks for God’s protection & His guidance. Perhaps if we viewed God as our partner & companion as we traversed our own valleys, we could draw strength & courage from Him.

An Optometrist’s Favorite Hymn? Open My Eyes That I Might See

The phrase “the wicked oppressing now cease from distressing” offers an almost joyful assessment of the state of the conflict between the Dutch & Spain. After decades of death & destruction, the Dutch are finally beginning to experience some military success. (This phrase helped popularize the hymn in the U.S. during the 20th century as many worshippers linked this verse with the conflicts with Nazi Germany & Communist Russia.) Today, we might be feeling oppressed in our own fashion, be it economic turmoil, health issues, or relationship struggles. Perhaps, though, we can find solace in the confidence that God & goodness will ultimately triumph.

Finally, in verse 4 we hear “to Thee in thanksgiving, glad anthems we raise…to Father, Son, & Spirit, forever be praised.” If our Dutch friends could praise God even after all the hardships they had experienced, then perhaps we, too, could pause today & offer thanksgiving to God for His steadfast love, His constant support, & the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do a bit of online shopping for some Christmas presents for Doris & the boys. I might even hum the favorite hymn of shoppers everywhere, “Sweet By & By.” (Huh? Editor. Think “Buy & Buy.” DL. Oh my. – Editor.)

PS: If you need a refresher of our hymn: We Gather Together

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Eugene Eung-Chun Park and Joel B. Green, study note on Matthew 6:25-34 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 17 NT.