Summary: This is a short homily given at an inner city mission in downtown Toronto, to a mixed crowd
What kind of news makes you happy? Birth of a child; healing of a family member’s sickness; bigger tax return than you thought; a forecast of great days of weather ahead; maybe you won something at the lottery.
What kind of news gets you upset? Drama in a friend’s life; maybe the death of a friend; a smaller tax return than you were expecting; a terrible weather forecast; sometimes just not knowing what’s coming up, what’s coming around the corner.
It’s that last thing that can lead us to worrying about stuff. Anyone here a worrier?
My mom was a worrier. She had 4 kids, and I don’t think she spent a day not worrying about us her whole adult life.
Worrying can wear you down, can’t it? It can stress you out; it can drive you nuts. We worry about the things we can’t control.
Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
85 percent of what we worry about never happens, and of the 15 percent that does happen, most of us can handle the difficulty better than expected, or sometimes even the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning.
This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.
But still we worry. It’s part of being human.
And God knows that. In fact Jesus talked a lot about this problem of worrying that we share cuz we’re human. He said this in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 6:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more 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 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
So Jesus asks a few questions there: Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?
In other words, is there more to life than just surviving? There IS MUCH MORE to life than those basics.
Then he talks about the birds of the air who God feeds, and he asks are you not much more valuable than they?
The way he asks the question, it’s clear that we are much more valuable that the birds of the air. God cares personally for us,
He loves us as the ones He created to have relationship with; He knows us intimately - nothing is hidden from Him, and He wants us to know Him.
Knowing Him starts with understanding that we are His creation, and that He created us in love.
Then Jesus says:
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 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—you of little faith?
That passage means a lot to me just for what it says, because it’s powerful.
It also means a lot because when a friend’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he for the first time began to be open to the reality of God’s great love for him.
And he would read this passage over and over again, and he loved to read it to me when I visited him. He knew it so well he could recite most of it by heart.
It was the passage that guided him to his eternal rest in the arms of Jesus.
We worry. A lot. And God knows we worry. And God’s cure for worry is to trust Him. Trust in his love. Trust in his goodness. Trust in his provision. Trust that He cares for you, that He is for you and not against you.
We can maybe start there and then move to bigger and better ways to trust God. We can trust that Jesus endured the suffering of the cross because He loves us.
That He died on that cross to bring us close to God. He gave his life as a sacrifice to take away our sins, so we can have nothing in the way of a beautiful relationship with God now, and then an eternity with God to look forward to in the future.
How do you start to trust if you don’t already? Learn to divert. Divert all that mental energy that goes into worrying, into instead trusting in his love.