Summary: God does not want us to worry. He’s given us biblical examples of his power and control, and He’s even volunteered to handle things for us. This message explains how we can avoid the "What If" syndrome and leave the worrying to God.
Medical doctors estimate that more than 25% of their patients are what they have called the "worried well." Doctors spend a great chunk of time examining people who are not sick. They are only worried.
Worry is the diet of our day. We are plagued by that "What if?" problem. What if my car was demolished? What if I get laid off from work? What if our house is burglarized? What if I get cancer? If we have a good job we worry that we’ll lose it and if we have good health we worry that we won’t have it long. If our children have left the house, we worry that they might come back home. From breakfast until bedtime our lives are characterized by worry. I even know people whose biggest worry is that they can’t think of something to worry about.
Most of us can identify with the woman who told her doctor she was seriously ill and named the disease she suspected she had. But he said she couldn’t possibly have that disease because it was never accompanied by any discomfort. She replied, "That’s just it doctor. That’s what I’m so worried about. I feel absolutely wonderful." A child one time made the comment, "My mother is such a worrier. One cough and she thinks I’ve got bronchitis. One headache and she thinks I’ve got a brain tumor. One little lie and she thinks I’m going to become a politician."
I love the story of the man whose co-workers noticed that he was as worried as a centipede with athlete’s foot. Someone asked, "What are you so worried about?" He said, "A few years ago I went home one day and my wife was whistling "Tea for Two." Shortly thereafter we had twins. The next year I went home and she was watching a The Three Musketeers on television. Shortly thereafter we had triplets." They said, "So why are you worried now?" He said, "Last night I went home and she was reading the book The Birth of a Nation."
It’s interesting how God speaks to where we live because in Matthew 6:25-34 God discusses worry. The reason He does so is interesting. He has just told the people not to let money be their master. He says in verse 24 "No man can serve two masters; for either you will hate the one and love the other or else you will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." But Jesus knew that the reason a lot of people let money be their master is that they are worried about tomorrow. The average person thinks his worries would be solved if only his income increased. Therefore, having told them not to let money be their master, He gives them a better way to handle the problem of worry.
But before we dig into the center of this loaf from heaven’s oven, I discover two things when I just bite into the crust of this passage. One is God’s definition of worry. Verse 25 begins, "Therefore, I say to you, do not worry." Worry in this passage means to have a distracting care. The same word is used in Philippians 4:6 where it says "Be anxious for nothing. But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Therefore, a scriptural definition of worry is a distracting care resulting from assuming responsibility that is not yours. God is not saying "Don’t be concerned about your health." He is saying, "Don’t let that become such a distracting care that it is all you can think about. That is My responsibility." God is not saying, "Don’t be concerned about your finances." He is saying, "Don’t let that become such a distracting care that money is all you think about. That’s My responsibility." He is not saying, "Don’t be concerned about your job." He is saying, "Don’t let that become such a distracting care that your job is all you can think about. That’s My responsibility." Worry is a distracting care resulting from assuming responsibility that is not yours.
The second thing I notice is that verse 25 is a command. It says, "Therefore, I say to you, do not worry." The actual meaning behind that phrase is, "If you are not worrying, don’t start. If you are, stop it right now." Verse 25 does not say, "What are the possibilities of not worrying?" Verse 25 does not say, "Didn’t I have a good idea when I suggested you not worry?" Verse 25 does not say, "Why don’t you form a committee to decide if it would be a good idea not to worry." Instead, it means, "If you are not worrying, don’t start. If you are, stop it right now." Worry is sin, disobedience to a God-given command. It is just as much a sin as stealing because God says you shall not steal. It is just as much a sin as coveting because God says you shall not covet. Worry is disobedience to a God-given command. The meaning is, "If you are not worrying, don’t start. If you are, stop it right now."