Summary: Jesus provides prescriptions for worry.
JESUS’ PRESCRIPTION FOR A WORRY-FREE LIFE
Sermon Passage: Matthew 6:25-34
Jesus forbids worry. Three times he commands his followers to not worry. For those who are already living in worry, he commands, “Stop the worrying.” For those who are about to start worry, he declares, “Don’t make that step. Don’t even begin to worry.”
Jesus’ command is meant to keep his followers from getting hurt. Worry hurts. It affects people and their relationship. It strangles people. It chokes them. It affects even their sleep. It destroys faith. It leads to a lot of trouble.
(Share story of how 900 more died when death announced he was taking a 100)
Jesus provides three prescriptions for a worry-free life. Notice that these prescriptions require attitude, life, value adjustments. These require repentance, a seeking of divine help, and an honest to goodness evaluation of our lives.
1. MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION. (6:19-25a)
The “therefore” in verse 25 refers back to the three decision issues that Jesus pointed out in the previous paragraph. What we decide with treasure, with condition, and who to serve determine whether we turn out to be worriers or worshippers.
Jesus tells us that a worry-free life is a result of making the right decision.
Decision to prefer non-perishable, durable, eternal and heavenly treasures over treasures that are perishable, non-durable, temporary and earthly treasures. With your treasures safe you can live a worry-free life (See 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Decision to live according to God’s revelation or live on your own. This is the issue of the two “eye conditions” that Jesus pointed out in 6:22-23. The good eye sees. It is acquainted with the things of God. It refers to a life guided by biblical truth and values. The bad eye is blind. It is incapable of seeing beyond itself. It is a selfish eye. Knowing the truth and deciding to live by it keeps you from worry.
Decision to serve the right master. To serve Jesus leads to a worry-free life. To decide to live other “gods” means you will have to trust someone else.
2. TRUST THE RIGHT FATHER (6:26, 32)
Twice, Jesus points to the heavenly Father as reason for not worrying.
He says, ‘to worry and have a heavenly Father” is inconsistent. How can you worry when you have a heavenly Father? He also chides worriers by pointing the obvious, “worry is useless.” It is a futile exercise, a total waste of time, of effort, of energy. One cannot prolong his or her life by worrying. In fact, worry shortens life.
There are followers of Christ who need to rediscover the Father God. Some relate with God as they relate to their earthly fathers. Absent, uncaring, unable, undependable earthly fathers do not represent the heavenly Father.
Our attitude is often similar to that of the disciples in Mark 4:35-41. They’d just been with Jesus the whole day and were on their way to another town when they encountered a “furious squall”. The disciples, fearful and quiet upset rushed to Jesus, sleeping at the back of the boat, and accuse him: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Jesus of course cared. He also had power over that stormy condition.
3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AMBITION (6:33)
Matthew 6:33 is Jesus’ alternative for worry. Instead of worrying about food, water, clothes and the like, we are passionately seek God’s kingdom and righteousness. This is not a new theme that Jesus introduces here. This is a theme all throughout the Sermon. To care for God’s business is to be assured that God will care for your personal business.
So Jesus offers an alternative, a Plan B. “People who do not know God run after these things, but you are different. Pursue my kingdom, make it your central priority, make it your dream – your ambition.”
The kingdom Jesus refers to is his personal reign. God’s rule in Christ. So what does it mean to seek His kingdom above all?
First, it means to desire that one’s own life be placed under Christ’s rule. I desire that my whole life, every department of my life – be placed under His care, direction, and plan. To seek God’s rule in my life means that I want above all things that His will be done in my life – my home, marriage, family, ministry, relationships, finances, future, etc.
Second, it means an overwhelming desire to see people enter God’s kingdom so that they too might experience the life-giving kingdom. To seek God’s kingdom is to make evangelism our most important responsibility as a church family and as individuals. Our ambition is to see people come out of darkness into God’s marvelous light.
What about “righteousness”? To seek God’s righteousness involves wanting God’s righteousness. It is a gift given to God’s people. We should want more of that. To live to please God. It also involves wanting to see God’s righteousness demonstrated in our world. Ministering to the poor, the weak, those displaced by poverty, sickness, and circumstances show God’s care for people.