Do Not Be Anxious

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.   (Luke 12:22-23)

            With more years comes more worry.  I’ve discovered that truth, sadly. It’s not just true for fifty-somethings, it’s true for all of us.  The more complicated life gets, the more responsibilities we take on, the more the worries come.  We worry about finances, family, our health, our jobs, our relationships, the church- you name it.  Few, it seems, are immune to worry.

            Jesus’ words that we read in Luke’s gospel are much needed medicine for worriers.  Jesus encourages us not to indulge in it.  He explains how God cares for the flowers and the sparrows and then argues from the lesser to the greater.  If God cares for them, how much more will He care for you?

            In another place in Scripture, Jesus reminds us of the futility of worry.  It doesn’t actually accomplish anything.  It won’t add an hour to our lives or change our situations.  As Corrie Ten Boom famously said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows.  It empties today of its strength.”

            I’m both convicted and encouraged by these words of Jesus.  Because I worry, I wake up many nights in the wee hours of the morning and struggle to get back to sleep.  There’s something about those hours of the night that hinders rational thought.  Worst case scenarios will flood my mind. 

            I’m glad that Jesus doesn’t want us to worry.  He spends a great deal of time on the subject.  His original audience really did worry about the basics in ways we don’t- clothing and food.  There was no Publix down the street.  Every time I’m asked at the grocery store checkout, “Did you find everything you need?” I always say, “yes.”  First century Christians didn’t have such conveniences.  They worried, I’m sure. We do too but in different ways.

            With all this encouragement, I still struggle with worry.  I’m sure you do too.  I think it’s good to remind ourselves and each other that we don’t need to be anxious.   In fact, Jesus doesn’t want us to worry.  That alone is a big encouragement.  Let’s purpose to help each other in this all too common struggle.  Let’s all go to war against worry.