Summary: A look at the problems with worry.
I started the message by playing the Song "Don’t Worry, Be Happy."
Isn’t a great song. I remember when that song first came out we were living in Truro at the time. Now I have a confession to make I prefer two types of music either country music or music from the seventies. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” doesn’t fit into either one of those categories. So I was ignorant of the song at first, I mean I heard people humming the tune on the street or other people singing little snippets from the song but it wasn’t until I heard a man named Ken MacDonald singing it one night while we were working on the new church and I was shocked, I wouldn’t have thought that Ken MacDonald even owned a radio, let alone listened to one, and yet here he was singing a pop song.
And so I thought to myself, “Self, you’d better find out what this is all about.” And I discovered that this song written and performed by a virtually unknown artist by the name of Bobby McFerrin was the number one song on the American and Canadian pop charts.
You heard it this morning: “Here’s a little song I wrote You might want to sing it note for note Don’t worry, be happy. In every life we have some trouble But when you worry you make it double Don’t worry, be happy. Don’t worry, be happy now.”
And so it goes, and then if the song wasn’t enough Bobby went and wrote a book with another 200 verses.
A cute song but not a completely new concept. Paul tells the believers in the city of Philippi the same thing 2000 years ago. It was in the scripture that Sajonna read earlier.
Did you catch it in Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
In that scripture Paul is basically saying “Don’t worry, be happy” But that is a lot easier said then done, I mean even though millions of copies of Bobby McFadden’s record were sold around the world it didn’t seem to have a major impact on how people live. Sometimes we think “Great as if I didn’t have enough to worry about now I have to worry about worrying”
The book of Philippians is the 11th book in the New Testament and was written by Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome. It was addressed to all of God’s people in Philippi, who believe in Christ Jesus, and to the elders and deacons. If we pull down our trusty map we discover that Philippi was situated in Greece. This church was actually started by Paul and was the first Christian church in Europe. The letter was written around AD 62 and the reason it was written was to thank the Philippians for the their giving and to urge them to greater unity.
The first thing that I want to note this morning is the word that Paul used for worry in the Greek is the same one that Jesus used in the Sermon on the Mount and it actually meant “an anxious worry”, and it conveys a sense of anxiety. When your child walks to school you may be concerned about his safety on the way there, that’s not a problem. But if you become consumed with that worry to point of not being able to function, then you have a problem. There is a world of difference between concern and anxious worry.
I would suspect that Paul is going back to the Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount to rationalize this concept of not becoming tied up in worry so that’s where we will go as well. And it was in Matthew that Jesus spent ten verses explaining why we shouldn’t worry.
1) Worry is needless, useless and dangerous.
Jesus starts by talking about the most basic concerns of mankind. The need for food, clothing and shelter. Now these aren’t frivolous concerns. You might be able to run around bare tailed and live under a tree in Australia but in our part of the world that just isn’t an option. And so Jesus starts by getting right down to the nitty gritty, right down to brass tacks, right down to where the rubber meets the road. Have I left any metaphors out?
He doesn’t start by saying, “Don’t worry about where your next car is going to come from”, he says “Don’t worry about where your next meal is going to come from” He doesn’t say “Don’t worry whether you have Levis or Reeboks to wear” he says “Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to wear.”
Now that is not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned with the material things of life, or with providing for our families. But listen up, will worry provide those things that we need? Nope, not at all. A wise man once said, “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.” Worry is essential wasted energy, energy which could be used a lot more productively some where else.