This particular sermon is called “Do Not Worry.” As the name suggests, it concerns Jesus’ treatment of worry in the Sermon on the Mount, where he says no less than three times, “Do not worry.” (Mat 6.25, 28, 34.) When you think about it, worry is not just something we do from time to time, it is a power, a force that can grip us and control us. When we are worried about something, it becomes the focus of our thoughts and emotions. And once worry has a grip on us, it does not like to let go. We want to be relieved from worry, but worry itself never wants to be relieved. If one thing turns out okay, worry will move to something else. If everything is okay in the present, worry will move to the future. “Everything is fine today,” it says, “but what about tomorrow, next week, next year?” If worry cannot make its case on the facts before us, it will make up new facts, for it has a very active imagination. Worry is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Yet everyone knows worry makes no sense. Even unbelievers admit that worry at one and the same time does no good and a good deal of harm. It won’t change anything about what you are worrying about, but it will change you, and not for the better. And even unbelievers sense there ought to be more to life than the things we worry about, which tend to center around the basic needs of life – food, clothing, shelter. And they know that having plenty of these things does not make worry go away. The ubiquity and yet futility of worry is a testimony within every human being that life was not meant to be lived unto itself, but rather unto the One who created it. But sensing these things does not remove our worries and give us peace. Only the Father can do that. And that is Jesus’ main point. Because the Father is the creator and governor of all life, and because in Christ he loves us utterly and cares for us completely, we can present our needs to him and leave them there. We can lift our eyes above food, clothing, and shelter and have as our chief concern the Father’s chief concern – the establishment of his kingdom and his righteousness in this world of worry. One of the implications of his kingdom is that there is no need to worry. Pray? Yes. Prepare? Yes. But worry? No. By including us in his kingdom work, the Father is not only giving us a kingdom, he is giving us himself, and he throws in all our needs to boot. This being true, we can see why Jesus expects there to be a marked contrast between his people and the world in terms of how we deal with the cares and concerns of life. I hope this consideration of Jesus’ words on worry will make worry less of a worry for you. Thanks for listening. –Alan Burrow
Click the play button to listen to 'Do Not Worry' by Alan Burrow.