1. Today we’re in Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus teaches us not to worry and tells us why we don’t have to. Interesting timing and I can’t take credit for planning the Sermon on the Mount; that was Jesus. But I do have to say that it’s perfect timing for all of us, considering all that’s going on in our world. Let’s read it.
2. Just to make sure we all heard the same thing, Jesus says do not what? Worry. And b/c Jesus says, don’t, none of us do, right? This one’s easy. Nobody in here worries about anything so let’s just pray and go home. OK, maybe not. The reality is we all worry. All the time. About all kinds of different things. We worry about the future. We worry about our finances. We worry about politics. We worry about the weather. We worry about whether or not the people in Lost are ever going to get off the island. We worry about a lot of stuff; mostly stuff we have absolutely no cont. over.
3. And Jesus’ advice? He simply says…don’t. Do not worry. You know what it’s called when you do something Jesus says not to? Sin! It’s funny how we don’t count worry as a sin. As Christians, there are a lot of DUMB things we do count as sins; things Jesus never talks about; playing cards, dancing, Harry Potter; not even mentioned in the Bible; but when it comes to something Jesus has expressly forbidden we give ourselves a pass. I’d argue that WORRY is a much greater sin than all the habit sins b/c it gets to the heart of who we are and who we believe God to be. To call yourself a Christ. and then worry is to deny the very power you claim to believe in.
4. Martin Luther, the great reformer, went through a pretty serious season of depression. The Pope was out to kill him, his friends disowned him, his cause was languishing, and he sunk pretty low and became discouraged. One day his wife came downstairs dressed in all black. She put on her funeral clothes. And he asked her, who died? She said God did. He was so angry – now his wife was an unbeliever! He asked her who convinced her of such a lie. She answered, you did. By the way you’ve been acting – worry, fear, discouragement – I assumed that God must’ve died. (Some of us can relate to Martin Luther – we also have smart aleck wives.)
5. Some of us, not with our mouths but by the way we live our lives, we deny the power/auth. of God. People who observe us would be left with no other conclusion except that we don’t believe in God. But Jesus sets out to teach us here that fear and faith are mutually exclusive; you can’t have both. It’s an either / or proposition. Either you have your faith in God and therefore don’t worry or your faith is in yourself and therefore you do worry. Like your treasure (here/there), your master (God/money), you have to choose who’s in control of your life; you or God. If it’s you, then you’ve got a lot of things to worry about. If it’s God, then you need to let Him lead.
6. To make the point, what animal does Jesus use? Birds. Now I realize that some of you probably like birds and that’s cool. I’m not much of a bird guy. You already know that I don’t have much use for cats, but possibly the one redeeming quality of cats is they chase birds. To me birds are like the rodents of the sky. I realize there are some beautiful and exotic birds, but the kind I normally see are black, noisy and they poop a lot. Nothing interesting about that.
7. My point is this; I’m not sure Jesus could’ve picked a more common and less exotic animal to teach this principle. He doesn’t talk about lions or tigers or bears, oh my. He uses one of the most common animals on the planet to teach us an important spiritual truth. He says, look around you – there are birds everywhere and they’re not stressing out. They don’t even know how to worry, but somehow they eat. They have no savings plan, they don’t rent storage sheds, no worms in an IRA, but they seem to do OK. How does that happen? Jesus says your heavenly father feeds them.
8. Interesting. He doesn’t say “their” heavenly Father feeds them. He says your Heavenly Father feeds them. He’s trying to drive the point home that they’re just birds, not humans, not of great importance, but God still cares for them and feeds them. How much more important to God are His kids? If you’ve got pets and kids, hopefully you get this one. But you know you start out with a cat or a dog (hopefully dog) and that dog goes with you everywhere, sleeps in the bed, pic. Then you have kids and what happens to the dog? Back yard, right. Why? B/c the kids are more valuable to you than the dog. (and it’s against the law to keep kids in the backyard!)