Shekinah Glory

What, Me Worry?
May 25, 2008, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Grace, Inspiration, Jesus, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

Matthew 6:24-34

Okay so it is time for me to come clean. I am a person who worries a lot. I can project so absurdly into the future that I make Cassandra look like Betty Crocker. So, more than most texts in the Bible today’s lesson from Jesus is truly troubling to my faith. A short list of the things that I worry about include in no particular order:

-My daughter’s health
-My wife’s health
-Our home equity
-Our debt to income ratio
-Job security
-What would happen to my family in the case of a terrorist attack
-That I do not do enough for my parents
-That people will think poorly of me
-That I am failing
-That I am not leaving the world a better place
-That we are using up the planet and there will be nothing left for my daughter
-That so many of my flaws are hidden from me by denial
-Financial security
-That I will run out of things to say in sermons
-That I will never be able to write again
-That I will forget something important
-That I will somehow be unable to provide for my family
-That I will miss out on something

My mind can find almost anything to worry about. I know that I am not alone. We live in a society where marketers and news agencies have figured out what worries us and sells us on our fears. “No worry retirement,” “Nanotech’s health, environment impacts worry scientists,” “No cash? Do not worry! Buy now pay later,” “The buy and don’t worry portfolio,” and “should we worry about soya in our food?” It seems that everywhere we look there is something that we are told to worry about and something that we can purchase to take away our worries.

So, what is the opposite of worry? In our culture the opposite of worry has become ubiquitous in its Alfred E. Newman pose. It is a red hared, gapped tooth, big-eared raff that historically is a caricature against the simpleton Irishman of the early 20th century. His blank eyes stare off obliviously into the distance and his only words are “Why, Me Worry?”

It is clear that we value motion, time-savings, innovation, technology, and good work ethics while being left with addictions, depression, hypertension, high blood pressure and stress. Well, with the stresses post-modern life and the highly accelerated pace of society one would be naïve and an uneducated under-achiever to not merge into the world’s high octane stew of fear, worry and productivity. If you had my job, life, family you’d be stressed and worried too. Right?

Yet, I am shaken from my constant cycle of worry when through Matthew’s pen Jesus says, “Brian wipe that whole list clean by trusting in what bird’s already know.” Jesus reminds me of the cold hard fact about worry in the book of Matthew. My worry has no value. Worry will not add one hour to my life. Life is more than food, clothing and (here is the difficult one) money! Jesus is telling me to quit obsessing about safety and security. Quit living in a time period that does not exist, the future.

So what are Jesus simple and difficult remedies for worry? First, we must focus on bringing the Kingdom of God into this present moment. We are to live out the words of the Lord’s prayer when we plead with the divine that reality be “on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” When we are attempting to make sure that others are loved like we would like to be loved we are bending our minds away from our worries and concerns. We are not allowing our minds the leisure time to cycle through all the frightening possibilities in our future that probably will never occur.

This leads me to the second notion that Jesus gives us in regards to the solution to our worries. Though it relates closely to the first I think that it is a point all its own. It is that we are called to live fully in this current moment. There is enough challenging work for us in this moment if we can look around and see what our creator is calling us to do. Loving our families, visiting the sick, calling a shut-in, writing a letter to a lonely friend, working in a soup kitchen and praying while walking through the park are just a few options in turning our focus away from the future and into the present. Jesus is right, tomorrow will have its own worries, things that we could never plan for, things that we cannot change. So, wouldn’t it be better to live fully in this moment, facing the opportunities and challenges that surround us in this time. It is only in this moment that we have the possibility of meeting the one who could take all of our worries away.


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