I come from a family tradition that has perfected the art of worry, passing the art down from one generation to another. I worry about small stuff and big stuff. With seven children, their spouses and grandchildren, there is always someone to worry about. At least one will be facing a major challenge, struggling in some way or waiting for resolution of a problem. So, I worry about things that will never happen and things that could.
Jesus says, “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? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?” Matthew 6:25 – 27
I want to point out to Jesus, “Well, yes, I can add a single hour to my life. I know many people who have.”
• Worry about that strange lump on your body and you could extend you life by decades.
• Worry about a bald tire and you can avoid a serious accident by replacing it.
• Worry about a young child can keep that child from dashing into the street.
And notice Jesus doesn’t say, not to worry about your children. I worry about my family’s health, well-being, work life, school, safety and icy roads . I worry about violence in our cities, Vladimir Putin starting a nuclear war, and repercussions of global warming. I worry a lot.
Jesus’ antidote to worry surprises us. He tells us, “Seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
There is a deep truth, that when we step outside of ourselves and participate in building up the Kingdom of God, investing our time and energy there, our worries get a break. While focusing on caring, giving assistance, doing good, or working for justice . . . our anxieties have less space in our heads.
Maybe what Jesus was really getting at, is instead of worrying, we are to invest our energy in pursuing what we are capable of doing to resolve the issues in our lives and of our era. When we have done what we can, then to put our worries and fears in God’s compassionate and loving hands. Remembering that God’s love for those we love, is even greater than our own.