Summary: Lots of people try to stop worrying. Jesus has the only real cure.
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
It's "America's past time." Do you know what it is? Some say that it's baseball, with it being the baseball postseason right now and the divisional playoffs. But that's not the past time I'm talking about. This past time is something that just about everyone does, and they really shouldn't, according to Jesus. It's not a sport. It's a thought, and it is America's past time. Do you know what it is?
It's worrying. When was the last time you spent time worrying? Have you ever lost sleep because you were worrying about something? What is worrying? It's when you feel nervous, anxious about the future, because something might happen that you don't want. And you think about it.
We worry about lots of things. We worry about money, about health. If you're a parent, you worry about your kids. I was watching a show on TV the other night, and the person said, "Of course I worry, I’m a parent. I don't sleep at night, I just worry with my eyes closed."
This morning, we're going to see to us what Jesus says about worrying. We're going to apply this to Christian education as we sometimes worry about the future of our children. And we're going to apply this especially to the ministry that takes place at Lakeside Lutheran High School.
In his sermon on the mount, Jesus was talking to a group of people who were worried. And right before our Bible section, he points out the root cause of worry. He says, "O you of little faith." Did you hear that? The reason we worry is because we have such a little amount of faith. We worry about the future - money and health and our children and everything else, and Jesus says, "Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things."
Trust that your Heavenly Father loves you and cares about your future. And instead of focusing on all those earthly things…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Put God first - his kingdom, his rule in your hearts. Put God first, his righteousness, his forgiveness of sins and new life that he gives you - put that first, and trust that all these other things will be given to you as well.
I went to the internet the other day, and typed into the search engine "how to stop worrying." Lots of websites came up. "Pickthebrain.com" says that you're supposed to distract yourself - maybe go running - that will help you stop worrying. "Helpguide.org" says that you should set aside a certain amount of time every day, and limit yourself to worrying just during that time. I only worry from 6-6:30 every night. "Outofstress.com" says that you should just stop trying so hard and live by the moment. Do that, and you'll stop worrying, the internet says.
You can also ponder clever sayings if you want to get rid of worrying. Mark Twain once said, "I am an old man and I have known many troubles. But most of them never happened." I read somewhere that worrying is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere. These are nice sayings. But it doesn't get at the root of the problem - why do I worry, and how do I stop it?
In Matthew 6, Jesus would tell us to repent. We are all guilty of thinking that God is not big enough or smart enough or loving enough to help us with our problems. That's lack of faith. Repent, Jesus says. Look at yourself and say, "I am guilty of this lack of faith. This is why I worry so much. I think I'm in charge. I think it's all up to me. Dear Lord, please forgive me for forgetting about you."
And God forgives. God's kingdom and God's righteousness is all about God forgiving you. He forgives you by taking your sins - all of them - even the sin of worrying, and putting that sin on his Son Jesus. And Jesus pays for your sins on the cross. You never have to worry about your sins again, because Jesus took them away at the cross. You never have to worry that God is angry with you and punishing you for all the bad things you've done in your life, because God punished his Son Jesus in your place. Let your worry fade away as you ponder the love and power and wisdom of God, and let your worry be replaced by faith.