Summary: This is lesson 11 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. I actually spent two sermons on this topic of worry.
Fix Your Fears (Part 1)
Maybe you’ve read the little book that went to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list recently. It’s by Richard Carlson and it’s called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it’s all small stuff.” I had heard that before though it was phrased a little differently. What I heard was Don’t sweat the petty things. And it’s also a good idea to follow it’s sister rule: Don’t pet the sweaty things. But regardless, in Richard Carlson’s book, he asks this question: “Have you ever noticed how uptight you feel when you’re caught up in your thinking? And to top it off, the more absorbed you get in the details of whatever is upsetting you, the worse you feel. One thought leads to another, and yet another, until at some point, you become incredibly agitated. For example, you might wake up in the middle of the night and remember a phone call that needs to be made the next day. Then, rather than feeling relieved that you remembered such an important call, you start thinking about everything else you have to do tomorrow. Pretty soon you think to yourself, I can’t believe how busy I am!”
Do you think Richard Carlson’s been peeping through your windows, too? I read that and wondered how he knew me so well. Worry is the number one emotional health disorder. Physicians say that as much as 70% of all illnesses in a person are imaginary, caused by mental distress or worry. This world is filled with worry. In our time this morning we will continue to look at the Sermon on the Mount as we look at Quick Sermons for Permanent Fixes we’ll look at what Jesus has to say about worry. We will discuss how to fix our fears. If you have a Bible, turn to Matthew 6 and we’ll begin reading in verse 25. Because there is so much for us to look at in this passage, we will actually be looking at the rest of it tonight. There is simply too much here for one sermon so we are going to devote two messages to it.Matt 6:25-34 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’ 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Now some people read those verses and say that if we are going to truly obey what Jesus is teaching, we would have to move to a mountaintop 1,000 miles away and live in a hut and sit around thinking Godly thoughts all day long. That’s the only way we could escape worry. But I tell you that Jesus is saying just the opposite. Jesus is saying that there is a way to live life in a very busy world, where there is corruption and all kinds of pressure on us, where we must try to be Godly in an un-Godly world. There is a way to live in the midst of all that and not worry.
We need to notice the first word of the reading. Therefore. The New American Standard Bible says, “For this reason.” That ties us to the previous section. Because there are two masters and you can only serve one. Because you should lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven rather than on earth, there is no reason for you to worry.
Now we have to stop and clarify something right from the start before I get into trouble or you do. To not worry does not mean to be irresponsible. Jesus does not prohibit planning, prudence and initiative, or hard work. What He does forbid is worry and fear.