Why Not Worry?

25For this reason I say to you, Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, with what you will be clothed.  Is not life more than nourishment and the body more than clothing?  26Look at the birds in the sky.  They don’t plant nor do they harvest, nor do they gather food into storage, but your heavenly father cares for them.  Aren’t you much more important than they are?  27And which of you can add a foot or so to his height by worrying? — Matthew 6:25-27

[For those who may wonder, this is Henry, not Jody. Jody was busy working on the tournament, not worrying about it! — HN]

Often we look at a command in scripture and then we head out to try to obey it, but we don’t consider the reason the command is given. I will ignore for today all the occasions when we see a command in scripture and just ignore it! We’ll discuss those another day.

But this text has come back to me since the golf tournament that we held—or rather didn’t hold—this past Saturday. Now I have to confess that I worried quite a bit as I watched the weather reports come in. A few friends didn’t help me much by calling me up and asking me whether we had canceled it or not, or whether we had plans for an alternative date. (We didn’t and couldn’t.)

Now I can’t blame them for their calls; I probably would have been wondering the same thing had I been in their place. The question that always comes up under such circumstances is whether you’re going to actually raise any money, and in a worst case scenario are you going to pay expenses. A fundraiser that turns into a fund-loser can do a lot of damage.

As it happened, things went quite well. We didn’t raise as much as we would have had the tournament taken place as scheduled, but some good things came out of it, and the bills are paid.

Now why do I tell this part of the story? Well, here’s my point. The time I spent worrying about it didn’t contributed nothing to the success of the tournament (the lunch, raffle, and silent auction that did take place). Nothing. Nada. Zilch. No production resulted from the worry.

That’s the logic behind the command Jesus gives. The worrying doesn’t do anything. Now there are things that do help, and he doesn’t tell us not to do those. In other places he congratulates those who prepare ahead and who count the cost.

The very human thing to do, however, when we read a command like this is to worry about obeying it, so we start to worry about not worrying. I could be worried today about the signs that I have not truly conquered worry in my life.

But if we look at the reason for this command we’ll see that sitting around and worrying about failures or weaknesses won’t add a foot to our height, nor will it add one good trait to our characters.

How do I overcome worry? Not through a concentrated program of avoiding worry. Rather, I will conquer worry by filling my life with things that do work: prayer, worship, praise, studying the word, and positive effort where it does count.

Overcoming evil with good (Romans 12:21) works ever so much better than trying to get rid of the bad and replace it with emptiness. The best way to deal with a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.

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