Summary: Jesus tells us not to worry. A little easier said, than done. Why does he say that and how on earth do we do it?
***Message time outside***
Tonight I wanted to switch things up a little bit and come outside to help us explore God’s Word. I want to start off by taking just a couple of minutes sitting in silence and just observing God’s creation around us. As we have talked about before, our lives are so filled with scheduled stuff – homework, school, work, sports, etc. – that not many people “stop to smell the roses,” as the saying goes.
Ideally, I wish we had a space near by that had no houses or stuff like that, but that would have taken far too much work and time to get to. So, try to block out those things for now and focus on nature and the creation of God that surrounds you. Let me read a passage from Romans 1:19-20 and then we will take our time of silence.
“The basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse for not knowing God.”
***Take time in silence. After silence, ask a couple to share what they noticed/looked at***
Nature and creation was something that Jesus used time and time again in the Gospels to help the people He spoke to understand things of God. He uses images of fruit and trees to take about growing in God. He uses images like a mustard seed growing into a huge tree, a farmer sowing seeds on his farm, and fishing to talk about the Kingdom of God. He talks about vines, sheep, mountains, storms, rocks, sand, and all sorts of other things to help us understand who God is and how to follow Him.
Tonight, I want to look at one of those specific teachings of Jesus where he uses creation to make an important point about our relationships with God. Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 6:25-34.
***Read Matthew 6:25-34***
As we pick up this passage, Jesus is in the middle of his longest sermon that is recorded in the Bible. It begins back in chapter 5 where Jesus notices a crowd gathering around Him and so he goes up to a mountainside, sits down, and begins to teach his disciples and anyone else who wanted to listen. Just before the section that we just read, Jesus taught the people about money and storing up treasures in heaven, and not on earth. On earth, the treasures that we can have can be eaten by moths, destroyed by rust, or stolen; in other words, they don’t last. But treasures in heaven are protected from all those things. Jesus ends that teaching by boldly proclaiming that we cannot have more than one master, we cannot serve both God and money.
As Jesus continues on in the passage that we just read, it is connected to the teaching right before it about money. “This is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life,” Jesus starts off by saying here. He is referring back to the issue about who our master is and He is assuming that His disciples will make the right choice to serve Him instead of money. So, basically, what Jesus is saying here is, “Those of you who follow me and jump into a relationship with me, I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.”
Now, maybe there aren’t many of us who worry about getting enough food everyday and there are probably a couple of you who worry about clothing but not from the standpoint of having it, it’s more about having the right brand or style of clothes. But beyond those things, we all worry about stuff. What kind of stuff in life do you worry about?
***Allow youth to answer the question***
As natural and normal as worrying is for all of us, Jesus tells us not to worry, again with the assumption that we are proclaiming Him as Master in our lives. From here, Jesus uses two different analogies to help us and the disciples understand why we shouldn’t worry. The first is about birds, the second is about wildflowers.
Jesus asks the people sitting around him to look at the birds. No doubt, as they sat on a mountainside, there would have been birds flying around that all the people could see. He reminds the people that birds don’t “plant or harvest or store food in barns.” In other words, birds aren’t storing up food for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next after that. Each morning, the birds fly out of their nests and find worms, figs, and other food for it to eat. God takes care of them each day and they don’t worry about a thing.