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TEXT: MARK 4:26-29
In 1978, my family and I were called to a church in Texas as Associate Pastor. We excitedly began our ministry assured by the pastor that his was to be a long pastorate. In less than a year, this pastor was called to another church. That certainly created anxiety for us! As you well know, most Associate pastors come to work under a pastor they know and respect. Usually when the Senior Pastor leaves, the Associate Pastor will soon follow. Jo and I were extremely anxious. What would the new pastor be like? Could I work with him? Would I be allowed to stay? Needless to say, within a few short weeks God revealed to both of us exactly where He wanted us to go and the door was opened for us to leave and continue our ministry. We have all experienced anxiety at one time or another.
All of us have tried various things to rid ourselves of worry and anxiety. One man was always worrying. He worried about his children, his job, his wife, his health. One day a friend of this man noted that he was extremely calm and peaceful. "Why are you so calm?, he asked. "You always worry about every-thing. What happened?" The former worrier replied, "I just hired a man to do the worrying for me." "Well, how much are you paying him?" His friend inquired. "A thousand dollars a week," the man replied. "A thousand a week? You canít afford a thousand dollars a week." The worrier responded, "Thatís his problem!"
Anxiety is probably one of humanities most common maladies. All of us at one time or another have been stricken with anxiety. Anxiety is based on fear. I am remind of a Charlie Brown cartoon. Lucy had her psychiatric office open. Charlie Brown came for a consulta-tion. Lucy asked him what is your problem? Charlieís reply, "Iím afraid". "What are you afraid of?" questioned Lucy. "Acrophobia?, Xeno-phobia? Hydrophobia? Claustrophobia?" "Iím afraid of all these things, spoke Charlie, "and others as well." Then you must have phobophobia", concluded Lucy. "Whatís that?" he asked. "Thatís fear of fear." Thatís it! "Thatís it, Lucy! Iím afraid of fear!"
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its trials - it simply empties today of its joys. Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow -it empties today of its strength.
What exactly is anxiety? Anxiety is the result of doing our own thing, on our own timing and with our own resources. Freedom from anxiety comes when we desire to do what God wants, when He wants it, with whom He wants it and by His power. Godís work done without Godís power depletes Godís people.
We have read another parable of Christ that teaches us that what God guides, He provides. But between the planting and the harvest-ing is the waiting period when He is at work and we must wait. Peace is Godís gift for the in between time of the beginning of what He wills and the fulfillment of that will. Peace is the product of a confidence that while we wait, God is busy working with people, potentials, and possibilities we never dreamed of or even knew existed.
The parable of the growth of the seed is the basis of future hope not future shock. This parable demonstrates to us the reliability, resources, and responsiveness of God.
How do we become free from anxiety? First,
I. FREEDOM FROM ANXIETY COMES FROM ACKNOWLEDGING A PERSON.
A. In the parable of the soils, the sower was Jesus. In the parable of
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