Jesus’ Cure for Worry: Part 2Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
PRAYER: Lord, if I could really believe that You will take perfect care of me then I would be less worrisome and more available to serve you. But everywhere I look, I see evidence that the people who trust you the most still have trouble in their lives. Give me your peace. Help me accept that you can save me from my trouble, and you can save me in my trouble. Give me your peace to help me worry less and serve more. Amen.
Saying “Don’t worry” to a worrier doesn’t help. Anxiety demands more concrete assistance. So Rabbi Jesus doesn’t just say, “Don’t worry,” he also gives us things to do when we do worry. Yesterday we considered Jesus’ first active cure for worry—to consider—to look closely at all God has made and how astutely God cares for it.
Jesus’ second cure for worry is to “Seek God’s Kingdom … seek God’s Righteousness.”
Jesus teaches us to replace anxiety with the activity of following God’s way and doing God’s work in this fallen, broken world. There isn’t time or energy for anything else.
In 1988 I was completing the final research paper for my doctoral degree. The paper was several hundred pages long and was extensively footnoted. It was the last day for submission, and I had saved the worst part for last—typing the footnotes and bibliography. I’m a three-fingered typist, so progress was extremely slow. After hours of labor, I was nearly finished when for some unknown reason the screen went blank, and the document was lost. WHAT!! So I started over. And it happened again!! So I switched computers and tried a third time. Finally, success! I stuffed the whole document in a manila envelope and sent it off. Later, I heard that my behavior that day had become legendary around the office because I never once hollered or wept or cussed! I just started over—three times. I explained that I wanted to holler, I wanted to weep and cuss, but there simply wasn’t time. Completing the work was more important than my anger, grief, and anxiety.
When Jesus says “Seek first … ,” he’s really saying there isn’t time to wallow in worry. Our broken world is crying out to be rebuilt. And every time we do the work of serving, forgiving, praying, comforting, encouraging, giving, thanksgiving, rescuing, obeying, we put a fence around worry.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: People say that worry, even worry about others, causes a person to be self-centered. Do you think that’s true? Does worry paralyze you or motivate you? In what ways are you taking part in God’s rebuilding project in the world?