25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Did you note the highlighted verses. Three times in this brief discourse, Jesus says “Do not Worry.” The Greek word translated “worry” here means to be anxious; to be troubled with cares; to care for, look out for (a thing); to seek to promote one’s interests; or caring or providing for. Interestingly, the English words worry and anxiety find their origin in the words struggle [worry] and anger or torment [anxiety]. Anxiety is certainly tormenting and is definitely a struggle for most of us. Dallas Willard says both English words anxiety and worry are related to being choked. Worry and anxiety can choke the life out of a person; certainly the happiness. Jesus makes a clear prohibition–“Do not worry.”
If Jesus commands us not to worry, then it is a sin to worry. Most of us have some form of anxiety. The ideal that Jesus lifts up is to be worry free. Lets begin with the question, “Why do we worry? Today, I want to focus on the source of our anxiety.
I. OUR MISPLACED TREASURE
We have to go back to verses 19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Connect these verses to verse 24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” If you treasure wealth or money, you will be cursed with anxiety and worry.
Since money is not my treasure, I am tempted to stop here but there are other things that we treasure here on earth that cause anxiety just as much as our love for money. Some people treasure their reputation. They treasure success. Failure frustrates them; it worries them to no end. They are more concerned about what people think than they are about what God thinks. This is especially true of preachers. I don’t know that many greedy preachers but I know very few who are not vain. They worry incessantly about what people think of them.
Your treasure may not be money or your reputation: it could be your life, your physical life. You may be one of those who does not want to leave this world and you worry about dying. You take every measure to add years to your life. Some people do not smoke, drink or over eat simply because they want to live longer. Some are fanatics about exercise because they want to live long and healthy lives. Many people are be strangled by the fear of death.
If you get your treasure right, you will get your heart right at the same time. When you get your heart right, you will not worry about physical death. My treasure is not money and that is a good thing. I lost hundreds of thousands by not checking my IRA for more than a decade. I am a poor business person. Really ‘poor’ is an understatement, actually, I am horrible. My greatest treasure is Jesus. I am not trying to say the right thing here, I am trying to be honest. I don’t think of rewards. I can’t think of much that I should be rewarded for. My greatest treasure is Jesus and He is in heaven. I’m like Paul, physical death is a promotion; it is a gain. This world is not my home. I do not like or approve of the way this world treats Jesus. I am anxious to live in a world where everyone loves HIM. The only thing I owe in this world is a burial plot at Friendship Cemetery. We do have a couple of vehicles and some furniture. I do love my kids and grandkids but I am assuming that they are going to join me in heaven. This world is not my home and I do want to go home.
You locate your treasure and if it is misplaced, that could be the source of your anxiety.
II. OUR LACK OF FAITH
Why do we worry or why do believers worry? Jesus answers this question in verse 30, “You of little faith.” In the Greek, this is one word ‘oligopistos’ [little faiths] and it is a nickname that Jesus used in reference to His disciples. Ten times Jesus calls His disciples “Little-faiths”…”You bunch of little-faiths, how long am I going to have to hang out with you before you trust Me.” [Paraphrase]
It sounds so simple but it is true, our unbelief creates needless anxiety. Jesus gave us a great illustration when He took a child and sat him on His lap and then said… “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Little children are trusting and as a result they have very little anxiety. My children never came to me before bed and said, “Daddy, what are we going to eat tomorrow? Where are you going to get money to buy groceries? How are you going to pay the light bill this month? What about the car insurance, is it due?” June and I worried about those things I’m sure but they didn’t. A small child does not worry. They trust their moms and dads to provide. We see a lot in the eyes of our 8 month old granddaughter Chloe but anxiety is not one of them. We can see her displeasure when she doesn’t get what she wants. We can see her happiness when she is pleased. We can even see mischief but I’ve never seen worry or anxiety.
That is the kind of faith we are to have in our Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “Your heavenly Father knows what you need.” If we put our complete trust in God the way a small child puts their trust in their parents, we would not struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and worry stem from a “Small Faith”.
III. OUR ILL ADVISED PRIORITIES
Jesus said, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. How many people do you know that put God’s kingdom first? Can you think of one? Can you think of more than one? It is almost like finding a righteous man in Sodom. How many churches put God’s kingdom first? I will answer that one for you, “Not many.” Most church are self-seeking because they are lead by pastors who are self-seeking. They do not think in terms of the kingdom, they think in terms of “Their Church” or “My Church”. Our church has the best children’s program: our church has the best youth pastor; our church has the best Wednesday night supper; our church has the best Senior Adult ministry; Our church has the best pastor, etc.
If you don’t believe that churches promote themselves, look on twitter or Facebook. There are not promoting the KINGDOM or the KING, in a very subtle way, we are promoting ourselves, commending ourselves. We could care less what the small church down the road is doing. We glory in the fact that our numbers are increasing while theirs are diminishing. Even when we go on Mission Trips, we brag about our church. I am fairly certain that the people in Iraq, Africa and Guatemala can not be edified, helped or encouraged by our talking incessantly about our church.
One of the most liberating things that has happened to me in my 44 years of ministry is to discover the truth that God has a Kingdom approach. Jesus did not say, “Seek ye first your local church and praise its leadership and you will have greater numbers than all the other churches in your area” did He? I was really discouraged with myself and the church I was serving and I took a two-day sabbatical. A friend in another part of the State invited me to come and stay in his home for a couple of days. I carried Gene Mims book, “KINGDOM PRINCIPLES” and read it while I was visiting with my friend. They gave me their guess room in which to study and rest and it was there on the very first night that the lights came on and I saw clearly for the first time that Christ is the head of a KINGDOM of local churches. All my life, I had been wrapped up in the local church, especially the one that I was serving at the time. I had no concern for other churches. I was visiting with my friend because I was discouraged about what was happening and not happening in “Our Church”. There was a copy of COMMISSION magazine in my brief case and I read about our Missionaries baptizing 400,000 people is West Africa. The truth of the KINGDOM hit me like a ton of brick and I began to rejoice because our rural village church had been giving to LOTTIE MOON. I gave God thanks that we were a part of this great work. This truth literally set me free. When Danville Baptist is not doing good, praise God, there are others in the kingdom who are and I can rejoice in what they are doing. I have two adopted sons in the ministry and both are serving vibrant churches that are doing very well. I helped with a Celebration Of Life Service just last week in the first church that I served while I was in college back in 1970. This church ran 33 in SS the first Sunday I was there and now they run 300. Since I left they have prospered. They have a totally new campus and all new buildings and I think they are paid for. They have a young pastor and he is as excited as a fox in a hen-house.
Unfortunately for me there are times when I feel sorry for myself and I’m like the old sour preacher that Bro. Inman use to talk about…A fellow pastor called him and asked him how the work was going…he said, “We are doing anything but Praise God, no one else is either.” The proper response would have been, “We don’t seem to be accomplishing much but praise God, others seem to be and I thank the LORD that it is a KINGDOM work and not just a local endeavor.
Our anxiety and worry is self-inflicted: if we will subject ourselves to Jesus Christ and His teaching, we can be worry free. “Look at the Birds” Jesus said, “Observe the lilies” [wildflowers]: God takes care of them. Birds don’t work nor worry and the wildflowers don’t do a thing except rest in the sovereign grace of their Creator. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.“
Folks, God loves you. Jesus death of the cross is all the proof you need. He did not die for Sparrows, He died for you. Give Him your life; make Him your LORD; make Him your greatest treasure and your highest priority. You will never regret it if you do: you will regret it for an eternity if you don’t.