Don’t Worry

Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12:22-31)

Life has all sorts of problems. Jesus never said it didn’t. But during a sermon by the Sea of Galilee Jesus told us not to worry. His prohibition on worry was very practical. Do birds worry? Do flowers? How come? Because the world is full of what they need and God takes care of them. Were birds particularly valuable? Not at all. In the sacrificial system, the sort of animal to be sacrificed depended upon a person’s wealth. Birds were what the poorest people offered up for their sin offerings. Birds were common. Like flowers, they were everywhere. So Jesus point was simple: if God takes care of birds and flowers, what do we ever have to worry about? Do we think we matter less to God than birds and flowers? God knows what we need and he’ll take care of it. So we should find something else for our brains to do. We have no reason focus on the mundane things of day to day life. Food and clothing are givens, like a sunrise or the wind in Chicago. We need to find something else to think about: like the kingdom of God. If we focus our energies on God, we’ll be happier, and it’s a lot more productive. Worrying never did anyone a bit of good or ever changed anything.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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