Summary: A sermon for Palm Sunday. We don’t have to worry in this life because we have received the gift of the Kingdom of God!
The Gift of the Kingdom! Luke 12:22-34
A certain man and his wife were taking their turn at what the man called “baby duty” in the church nursery. The man explains that “She does the diaper changes, I hold the babies when they are clean. It’s my idea of a fair division of labor. But one morning one of the babies I was holding wouldn’t quiet down. He was fussy, thrashing around. I’d rock him, I’d pat, I’d sing, but to no avail. I thought, “If only this baby would realize that we are looking after him. If only he would stop struggling and be calm. If only ….” That night the man could not get to sleep. Why not? A problem that he knew he couldn’t work on until the next day was working on him then. He’d fret, He’d fuss, and He’d thrash around. His wife woke and went right to the heart of the matter. “Why pray,” she asked not too sympathetically, “when you can worry?” She was right, of course.
The man began to visualize himself in the care of the Father. He knows what we need. He is telling us, “Relax, I’ve got you.” In some ways we are still in a spiritual nursery. We’ve still got a lot to learn.
The American Pastor of the latter century, A. W. Tozer, once wrote that “Happy is the man who is too busy to worry by day, and too sleepy to worry at night. If only we would stop lamenting and look up. God is here. Christ is risen. The Spirit has been poured out from on high. All this we know as theological truth. It remains for us to turn it into joyous spiritual experience.”
What is it that can stop us from worry? Our lives are hectic. The world around us seems to be flying by at a thousand miles an hour. The news reports a seemingly endless stream of chaos. How, on earth, are we not supposed to worry?
There is but one sure and completely remedy for worry; the assurance of God. So many Christians spend so much time worrying that were we able to harness the energy expended on such activity, there would be no limit to what we could accomplish. What can wash away all of my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
What can wash away all my worry? Nothing but the promise of God! This morning our focus will lie on the chief element of today’s text, that which lies at the heart of Jesus instruction not to worry, the gift of the Kingdom of God! This morning we will examine what the Bible has to say about the problem of worry and more specifically, what it has to say with regard to worries remedy.
The Worry Problem. We live in an age characterized by fear. Concerns, cares, and worries abound. Some of our concerns are very legitimate. If we are concerned about providing for our families we do a good thing. If we give care to the quality of work at our job or the level of care we provide to our children or grandchildren, we ought to be commended for such activity.
But care and concern are far different from worry. Care is rooted in love. When we love someone or something, love’s natural object is care. Concern, it seems to me, is a middle point on the path from care to worry. Concern is rightly an extension of care as we show careful attention to the details of how we might properly care for that thing or person which we love.
But concern which becomes compulsive, care which morphs into anxiety, changes from affection which rooted in love, to worry which is rooted in fear. And while fear takes many forms, fear is, at its core, at least in part, an acceptance of all of the negative possibilities in this life and a denial of the promises of God.
This is not to undermine the seriousness of the anxiety and fear that some people are captured by and that all of us experience at times in our life. Telling a person who is worrying simply not to worry, is like telling a dog caught in a trap not to chew off his foot. Even though he is doing damage to himself in the process, it is all that he knows to do to free himself from the bondage he is in.
This is merely to say that just as worry is the fruit of fear of the things of this world, so too, peace is the fruit of trust in the God who made it! Worry, I would suggest, is not merely the presence of fear, it is more specifically the absence of total dependence on God.