Seek First God's Kingdom
“One Thing is Needed to Stop Worrying” 3/19/17 Matt 6:25-34; Lk. 10:38-42
To see a video of this sermon, click here
So how do you stop from worrying? No one wakes up in the morning and says, “Today I want to worry all day long and soak up all my mental, physical and spiritual energy worrying about things.”
Perhaps the worst thing you can do is worry about worrying? It can become an ever increasing spiral- and lead to depression and sadness.
There are all kinds of things to worry about and also all kinds of advice to eliminate worry out there. Most would do anything we can to keep worry away. There is medication (a growing way to handle worry in America), there is sitting down and planning and coordinating things so that they are as well thought of as you can; Some work hard so that can check things off their list- so that they will have “one less thing to worry about.” there is education- thinking about how to avoid things; there is financial planning.
The Buddhist religion is all about finding inner peace and eliminating worry and stress. They say that there are ten steps to do- just eliminate desire- eliminate care and you will not worry. There is truth to that. But you also eliminate love. Christ’s way is to continue to love God and love neighbor- but just have your priorities and perspective right so that worry fades. There are some silly solutions too. One psychologist said to imagine a button you push that would eliminate your worry and push it. One person said to just finish each day and be done with it.
It sounds like someone saying, “Just say ‘No’ to worry.”
In 1988 there was a song written for a comedy that still pops up in re-mixes- “Don’t worry be happy.” It was the first acapella song to hit number one on the billboard charts; That is all the song said and it was really popular. There are biological, environmental reasons why we worry- but there are also spiritual and volitional reasons why we worry that go deeper. If we solve these I believe they knock the edge off the other ones. Jesus gives practical advice that has been tried and found helpful for 2,000 years. Trust and worship God. He said- look around at the birds of the air and the grass of the field. Jesus was not a worried or anxious man.
The stress hormones that shoot into our bodies and brains when we worry lead to shrinking brain mass, high blood pressure, heart disease, premature aging, marital problems, even dementia for seniors is tied to worry.
What are people worried about? In 2015 Gallup took a poll. The number one thing (I was surprised by this) was government corruption and control; Number two cyber-terrorism; Number three Corporate tracking of personal information; Number four terrorist attacks; Biowarfare; Identity theft; economic collapse; running out of money; Credit card fraud. 500 years ago Michael Montaigne said, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune: most of which never happened.” One recent survey found that 85% of what we worry about never happens. Earl Nightingale was a late night radio host- when people couldn’t sleep. He listened to a lot of worried people and spoke of worry. He said, According to the Bureau of Standards, “A dense fog covering seven city blocks, to a depth of 100 feet, is composed of something less than one glass of water.” This could be compared to our worries. If we can see into the future and if we could see our problems in their true light, they wouldn’t tend to blind us to the world, to living itself, but instead could be relegated to their true size and place. And if all the things most people worry about were reduced to their true size, you could probably put them all into a drinking glass, too.
We should worry about what will last- be concerned about our soul, not material things. When you are concerned for your soul most- the worries of this world get in the right perspective.
Martha was worried. A very important religious figure was coming to her house- Jesus. There were lots of guests and she was not a person who clapped her hands and had servants doing everything. There was so much to do and trying to get everything just right was so important to her. Then she looks over and sees her sister Mary who is supposed to help sitting at Jesus’ feet. She goes to Jesus and says, “I need some help- tell my sister to leave your feet and help me.” Jesus, instead rebukes Martha- Martha, Martha you are worried about many things but only one thing Is needed.”
Well- you tell me what is that one thing? We tend to think everything else is more important than the one thing that is needed. We think the food, the way the house looks, the entertainment and games, the exterior the color matching- but only one thing is needed. Can you make room for the one thing? Cam you make room to sit at Jesus’ feet in worship- attentive to Him? Has the one needed thing become just one among many on your long Martha-like list? In our passage Jesus says the same thing- seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.
When you can replace worry with trust- you really replace it. When you worship- you develop trust and a relationship with God. You may not feel like it. But just as when you are sitting talking to someone for a while a relationship develops, so you really develop a relationship with God- when you come and meet Him where He asks you to- where people are gathered together in His name. Paul said “Be worried for nothing- but pray with thanksgiving then God’s peace comes.” Prayer helps fight worry. Learn to give it to the Lord.
As the number of people who worship declines, the anxiety has grown. And in addition the things we worry about have grown- things like anxiety itself with its health issues; crime and dishonesty grows as worship and a longing to please Him and fear that God holds us to account declines.
Tim Keller said, Worry is not believing God will get it right. Bitterness is believing God got it wrong. But could add trust is believing God will get it right.
Do you trust Him. Can you commit yourself to worship and grow in that trust?
There is one thing that is needed. You are here today- fighting worry.