Feb. 13, 2011
Matthew 6:25-31

In the late 1980s, Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” rose to the top of the pop charts. The a cappella song with the light reggae beat invited listeners to chill out and put their worries aside.

Perhaps a remake of the song is in order. The current economic climate has heightened anxiety. In addition to financial uncertainty, 24-hour news programs thrive on doom-and-gloom reports from around the globe. Worry continues to grow like kudzu in the South, overtaking lives and imprisoning souls. Despite the destruction anxiety yields, some still view worry as a bad habit or a genetic predisposition. 

Actually, the Bible declares that worry is a sin. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus commands His followers not to worry (Matthew 6:25-31). It seems that Bobby McFerrin’s cute, catchy song actually addresses a critical spiritual issue.

The Frivolity of Worry (v. 25)
What do you worry about? What keeps you up at night? When Jesus illuminated the issue, He discussed the underlying anxiety about provision: food, drink and clothing. It is important to note that Jesus was not attacking luxuries, but necessities. Food, drink and clothing are basic to life.

Jesus wants His followers to look beyond what their eyes can see. He invites us to see the world from a kingdom perspective. When viewed from a kingdom perspective, even the essentials become insignificant.
The Futility of Worry (v. 27)
Perhaps you are having trouble developing a kingdom perspective, and food and drink still seem essential to you. The problem is that whether you worry about big things or small things, worry is futile.  In Matthew 5:27, Jesus asked the rhetorical question, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” In essence Jesus said, “Has worry ever produced anything?”

It is important to note at this point that worry is not to be confused with planning.  Planning solves problems while worry frets about problems. Planning produces results while worry apprehensively awaits the worst. Worry has been described as sitting in a rocking chair; it requires effort to move back and forth, but at the end of the day the chair hasn’t moved. So, in answer to the question of Christ, worry produces nothing.

Ironically, worry actually robs us of life rather than adding to our lives. In teaching the Parable of the Seeds (Luke 8:14), Jesus described one seed that sprouted and grew but was “choked by life’s worries.” Not only will worry not prolong your life, but it has the potential to kill you!

The Faithlessness of Worry (vv. 26, 30)
In verse 30, Jesus rebuked His listeners with the declaration, “O, ye of little faith!” Jesus used this phrase in other places that seem a bit more appropriate: the disciples on the sea, Peter sinking into the water, the disciples struggling to grasp His teachings. Why would Jesus rebuke His worrying followers for lack of faith? Faithlessness is the root of worry! Worry trusts self over the Savior. Faith and worry cannot coexist because worry denies the sovereignty of God. Worry shoulders the load that rightfully belongs to God.

Jesus points out examples from nature to remind His listeners of God’s sovereignty. God provides food for the birds (v. 26) and decoration for the lilies (v. 29). If God will care for His creation, how much more will He care for you?

The cure for worry is to look beyond the ability of our human eyes and see the world from God’s perspective. When we seek Christ’s Kingdom first, we can echo Paul’s perspective in Philippians 4:12-13: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” To rephrase Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Trust Jesus!”

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