Summary: #3 in my "Questions Jesus asked" series, this sermon takes part of the Sermon on the Mount to address one reason why we worry, and what Jesus tells us to do about it.
Questions Jesus asked #3
“Why do you worry?…” - Matt. 6:25-34
By James Galbraith
Bethel First Baptist Church - January 25, 2004
Thoughts on worry
What does worry do? – Plenty!
- At a British clinic an examination of 500 patients confirmed that more than one-third of their visual problems were caused by emotional tension.
- Dr. Leonard S. Fosdick of Northwestern University has proven conclusively that worry restricts the flow of saliva. Then, because natural mouth acids are not properly neutralized, tooth decay occurs.
- A survey of about 5,000 students in 21 different colleges confirms that worriers get the lowest grades
It can even cause us to forget how to breathe:
Peter Steincrohn, M.D., the newspaper columnist, points out that if an otherwise healthy person finds it impossible to take a satisfying deep breath, it may be caused by a common but overlooked condition called hyperventilation. When a person becomes overly anxious, her respiration tends to be shallow and yawns frequently. In a sense she has “forgotten” one of the most fundamental activities of life—how to breathe normally.
Ian MacLaren (author, minister)- What does your anxiety do? It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty today of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. God gives us the power to bear all the sorrow of His making, but He does not guarantee to give us strength to bear the burdens of our own making such as worry induces.
Jesus has something to tell us about worry, and it’s more intensive cousin, anxiety.
Let’s look to his thoughts on the subject…
Jesus has become a popular figure, known for miracles and profound teaching
- 4:23-25 - preaching the Good news of the Kingdom
- healing every disease and sickness
- various disease, severe pain, demon-possession, seizures, paralysed
He takes the disciples aside and share with them a synopsis of how we are to live…
- called by some the most profound words to ever come out of human lips
- hits all the biggies – prayer, money, marriage, divorce, anger, the law, etc.
After teaching on how we should handle money, he focuses on what we worry about
- (great lead-in – for what do we worry about more?!)
In true fashion, much of what he has to say comes in the form of a question
- 14 sentences, 5 questions (plus 3 more in brackets)
25... Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26 (Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.) Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes?
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Boil down to … Why do you worry?
So why do we worry?
Hard to answer! – What we worry about is much easier
anonymous source - An Average Person’s Anxiety Is Focused On…
40%—things that will never happen
30%—things about the past that can’t be changed
12%—things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10%—about health, which gets worse with stress
8%—about real problems that will be faced
- life, body (health)
- sustenance (food and drink)
- appearance (what you will wear)
- future (tomorrow)
- challenges, change, fears, health, money, family, friends, past, present, future,
- medical, genetic
- anxiety disorders, panic disorders,
But still… why?
In this case, Jesus tells us one root cause, with a oft-repeated phrase…
“O you of little faith…”
This is not the only cause of worry, but it’s the one that Jesus focuses on for special attention.
We hear Jesus say this again and again,
When disciples are about to drown in a storm…
Matt 8: 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
When Peter is about to swim with the fish he lived his life to catch…
Matt. 14: 31 “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
When hungry disciples realized they had no bread…
Matt. 16:8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?
When the disciple encountered a demon they could not fight…
Matt.17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”