Saturday, November 17, 2012

Freedom From Worry

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:3-34

For the follower of Jesus, worry is not just an emotion to manage; it is a sin to be repented of.  Until we see worry in the light of God’s sovereignty, power, love and majesty, we will always be more welcoming of it than we should.
Dietrich Bonheoffer had much to worry about.  As a German-born pastor teaching in a seminary in New York during the Hitler regime, he was burdened and convicted about the evils of his homeland.  Sensing a call from God to do something, he left his comfortable and prestigious post as a seminary professor living in freedom and traveled back to his homeland to stand against the injustices of the Hitler regime. 

That journey ultimately led him to captivity in a concentration camp and death by hanging.  But some of his classics were written from those prisons and in one of his epic works, he wrote:
Do not worry! Earthly goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what cause anxiety. The heart which clings to goods receives with them the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to earthly goods, the clutches which hold the goods tight, are themselves worries.

Abuse of earthly goods consists of using them as a security for the next day. Worry is always directed toward tomorrow. But the goods are intended only for today in the strictest sense. It is our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today. It is enough that each day should have its own troubles. Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure. Receiving daily liberates me from tomorrow.   Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Discipleship, pg. 165.

I invite you to ask yourself, practically speaking, what would it mean to stop our “abuse of earthly goods” and “put tomorrow completely into God’s hand?” Tomorrow has enough worries, trust Jesus for today, and focus on your day from His perspective.  As the old chorus goes, you will discover that “the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”
We will look further at what Jesus said about worry and anxiety this weekend. Read Luke 12: 1-12 and come this Sunday, with your Kennedy Christmas Offering in hand, prepared to be encouraged. 

I love being your pastor!