Summary: This message from the Sermon on the Mount deals with the cautions againts, consequences of, and cures for worry.
Living the Worry Free Life
Turn to Matthew 6:25-34
Perhaps you’ve seen the little flyer that says, "So far today, God, I’ve done alright. I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper. I haven’t been grumpy or nasty or selfish. I’m really glad of that. But in a few minutes God, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on, I’m probably going to need a lot of help.
Well we need a lot of help, and especially in the area that we will be talking about this morning. We are talking about living the worry-free life. And that sounds nearly impossible. And while we may not attain perfection, I do believe that we can go a long way towards reducing the amount of worry that we carry around.
Our text is found in Matthew.
READ MATTHEW 6:25-34
Well, let’s talk about worry. We all worry. Let’s just put that fact out there right away. We all worry from time to time. Some people worry over big things and some over little things. But we all worry.
And it’s hard to preach a sermon on not worrying because we’re all guilty of it. And I also find it difficult to preach on worry because I can look out here this morning and see some of you who have gone through things that I have never had to experience, and so it’s hard for me to simply say to you, “Don’t worry.”
I know that worry is relative to each of our situations and I also know that it’s not the easiest thing to just stop worrying. And while it may be easy to acknowledge that we need to worry less, it’s another thing to accomplish that.
The great comedian Carl Hurley tells the story about trying to throw a trash can away. He said it’s the one thing you can’t get the garbage man to pick up. He said, I set an old rusty garbage can out at the street one morning thinking the garbage man would understand that it needed to be thrown away. He said, when I came back that afternoon the can was stacked up with the rest of my empty trash cans.
Well the next week I put it out again and this time I turned it upside down so they could see that the bottom had several holes in it and it needed thrown away. When I cam home it was stacked up next to the empty cans again.
The next week I took a sledgehammer and I beat the can in pretty good and I left it out front and when I came home not only was it stacked up next to the other empty trash cans but the garbage man had actually tried to beat it back into shape.
And so he said finally I did the only thing I could do. I went to the hardware store and bought a heavy duty chain and a padlock and I chained the old can to a large tree in my front yard. And sure enough, that night somebody stole it.
Worry is a lot like that trash can. We know we need to get rid of it, but it’s not so easy to accomplish. And one of the worst realities about worry this morning is not just that it’s present but how we respond to it. When we worry, when we are upset over the latest setback, when we receive the notice that our job is being cut, when our child gets sick, when the bank forecloses, when our spouse leaves, when all of these happen, who is it that gets the blame? It’s God, the only one who can offer the cure for hurt and worry.
The only President to not use a Bible at his inauguration is Franklin Pierce. Two weeks prior to the inauguration, he and his wife and their only son were going to Concord, New Hampshire when their train car left the tracks. It went down a hill. They were unhurt but their only son was killed. He brooded about it and couldn’t understand why God would let something like that happen, and he refused to use a Bible at his inauguration.
Helen Hayes was a famous American actress for many, many years ago. She and her husband had only one daughter. That daughter died at the age of 18 from polio. A few years later Helen’s husband died at a young age, however Helen lived to be in her eighties. When asked why her husband died at such an early age, she said it was because he could not get over asking why. He worried about their daughter’s death until it killed him.
Now worry is not the same as concern. Concern says this is an issue and I’m gonna deal with it and with God’s help I can get through it. Worry says "I don’t know" I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t know if I’ll get through. I just don’t know.