Summary: Plainly, most of us worry about money. If we don’t have enough, we worry about getting more and if have money, we worry about keeping what we have. But the worry for a believer is a signal of a deeper issue.
Today, we continue our series Keeping Up With the Jones and I am eager to share with you how God has used today’s passage in my family’s life.
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. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:22-34)
And this is one of the most encouraging sermons I’ll preach all year.
1. The Truth about Worry
Jesus tell us to stop worrying: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Luke 12:22)
Whether you have a lot of it or very little it of, the fact is most of us worry about money. Maybe you are worried about your retirement, the value of your home, or where your next meal is coming from.
#1 Study on Stock Market
Last year, Joseph Engelberg and Christopher A. Parsons published a study that looked at worrying about the stock market specifically. They wondered what impact a drop in the market had on investor psychology, and they found something interesting in hospital admission records. After looking at nearly three decades of data, Mr. Engelberg and Mr. Parsons, both associate professors of finance at the University of California, San Diego, found that a sharp decline in the stock market was followed by a higher rate of hospitalizations over the next two days. Mental conditions, like anxiety, were particularly prevalent in these situations.
Jesus doesn’t point to a study, instead, He intuitively comments on the universal human condition: “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26)
Jesus tells us here that worry doesn’t work. Many of us are addicted to worry. You see, worry projects the worst about the future. Worry exaggerates the problem.
#2 Low-Income Study
There’s no question that dealing with mortgages, car payments, and other bills takes up time and energy. But scientists also report having a tight budget may also zap our ability to think clearly. In a series of clever experiments involving farmers in India and shoppers in New Jersey, scientists found that people are worse at solving puzzles — similar to those on the IQ test — when they’re first reminded of money problems. “Financial constraints capture a lot of your attention,” says Eldar Shafir, a psychologist at Princeton University, who helped lead the study. “Then there’s less bandwidth left to solve problems. Your cognitive ability starts to slow down, just like a computer.” In the study, scientists approached people at a shopping mall in Lawrenceville, N.J., and asked them how much money they earn. Before the participants started the puzzles, they answered a question about money: “A person's car breaks down, and they need X dollars to fix it. Tell me what are the options they have available?” People with lower incomes did just as well on the tests as those with higher salaries when the amount of money required to fix the car was low, like $100. But when the scientists raised the amount to $1,500, the less affluent participants performed worse on the puzzles. “The money question tickles that part of the brain that has to do with your own finances,” says an economist at Harvard University who also led the study. “Then you start thinking, ‘Gee, how I am going to pay rent this month?’”