29 Oct 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
Do Not Worry
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?
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? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6 holds one of the most precious nuggets in life but how many of us reap the joy that comes from not worrying about our needs in life?
Often times, we are bogged down by the financial worries we have – paying the car loan, returning the study loan, paying the health insurance, taking care of the expenses of aging parents, etc. – leaving us feeling high and dry. We worried if there is anything left for us to spend, let alone save.
Hence, making more money appears to be a logical solution. Not only we get to fulfill our financial responsibility, we are secured and padded from life uncertainties (i.e. accidents, diseases, illnesses), prepared for future needs (i.e. getting married, having a child), and allowed to enjoy life more (i.e. going on vacations, shopping).
And when we are established in our career that leads to financial stability, only then we can serve God at that time without financial worries. What’s wrong with that?
The paradox in this quest of earning more money through exorbitant working hours is that we lose the quality of life in itself. Li Yuan, a 24-year-old advertising employee in China, died of a heart attack after working until 11 PM each night for a month (1). Moritz Erhardt, a 21-year-old bank intern in United States, also died from work exhaustion of pulling three all-nighters in a row (2). In fact, ‘Karoshi’ or death by overwork in Japan, hovers around 200 cases a year annually in recent years (3).
Reflecting on the lives of these people who died out of overworking, a few facts or questions come into mind:
Firstly, salary increment is not a worthy trade-off if our excessive long working hours cause a long-term and irreversible damage to our health. Why lose our health due to excessive work and then pay later to get back our health later in life?
Secondly, life is precious and frail; what is the point of gaining the whole world but lose your soul (Mark 8:36)?
We hear people who are very successful in their career but are on the verge of divorcing their wife or husband, battling with a physical illness, struggling to find meaning in life and even losing their lives. Is this the life that God intended us to have?
We can only serve one Master in life, either God or money (Matt 6:24). And God promise that He will provide us everything we need if we seek first His Kingdom first (Matt 6:33).
Although God does not make all of us millionaires per se, seeking Him would certainly leave us not wanting anything else; we will be satisfied in Him!
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Thirdly, what is the meaning of success? We often define our success based on what we have, which also affects how we value ourselves. But to think about it, why do we want to allow this world to define our value or worth, which is fleeting and changing like the wind.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
If our Heavenly Father is the one who created us, should He not have the sole right to say how much we are worth in this world? And over and over in the ‘Do Not Worry’ chapter above, the Lord has emphasized how valuable we are to Him.
If He takes such great effort in feeding the birds daily and clothing the flowers even beyond the splendor of King Solomon, why should we doubt our worth to our Father? He can take care of our needs.
MATTHEW 6 PROVIDES US MANY REASONS TO STOP WORRY AND START TRUSTING GOD:
1. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? (Matthew 6:25)
Is life all about tasting the finer things in life and owning increasingly more materials and goods to show off. What are the happiest moments you recall in your life? Does it involve owning luxurious branded things or does it involve something simpler like connecting with an old friend, sharing problems over a lunch break, taking your parent out for a day trip, etc.
And as morbid as it sounds, if a friend or a loved one passed away, would you cherish the things he or she has, or the moments you share. What you cherish in a person is a good indicator of what is important in life.
Whether we are rich or poor, our value in life should not be based on the material goods we have or the food we consume, but in our relationship with God and people.
2. Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matt 6:27)
Worrying is the most unproductive feeling, causing distress, lack of motivation, damage to health, and lastly, it steals one’s joy and peace. Worrying does nothing for us. But 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
3. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matt 6:26)
We are more valuable than the birds, flowers, and fields, which our Heavenly Father takes care of; yet, the birds do not sow, reap, or store in barns and the flowers do not labor or spin. When we realize and accept in our heart that we are valuable to God, we can put our trust in Him in fulfilling our needs.
4. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matt 6:32)
As the children of our Heavenly Father, we forget that we have the privilege of having our needs fulfilled by our Father.
Sometimes, we prefer using our own fast-track ways in earning money to fulfil our needs instead of waiting and trusting our Heavenly Father to fulfil them for us. If we do that, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to personally knowing and experiencing God. Also, Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”
In trusting our Father, we need not strive, tussle, or toil in vain although we are called to be excellent workers unto Him (2 Tim 2:15; Col 3:23-24). Our Father knows all our needs and He will fulfil them; but we are called to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to us (Matt 6:33).
Hence, we have nothing to worry and everything to be thankful for because God promise in His Word to take care of all our needs. After all, would not a Father delight in fulfilling the needs of his children (Luke 11:11-13)?
All we need to trust in Him and seek first His Kingdom. Do not worry. Do what we can and leave the rest to our God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. You can know peace today.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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