Scriptures: Matthew 6:25, Matthew 6:31, Matthew 6:34, Matthew 6:29-30, Matthew 6:32, Matthew 6:33, Deuteronomy 28:2, Matthew 6:34
Oscar Schindler saved more Jews during the Holocaust than any other single person. In the movie Schindler's List, though Schindler saved many, he came to the realization that he could have saved more. He realized that he could have exchanged some of his earthly treasures for two more, one more life. One day we will all look back and think, "I could have gotten one more." One day we will say, "If I had only reached this one." "Had I not been so taken with this treasure . . . Had I been more into the purpose of the kingdom and less into my purpose, I could have saved more."
THE LORD DOES NOT WANT US TO WORRY:The section we look at today is very interesting from a theological viewpoint. Jesus has been talking about materialism - earthly treasures and the master called mammon. He connects that thought of a materialistic focus to his next thought with a "Therefore I tell you . . ." That is interesting because his next thought was about worry and anxiety. He said, ". . . do not worry . . ." Three times in this section, Jesus said to not worry.
Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry . . .
Matthew 6:31 So do not worry . . .
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry . . .
No place in the Bible are we told to worry about our problems. No place in the Bible are we told to talk about our problems. God does not want his people to worry, but not worrying is tough. It's easier to worry than to not worry. There are the bills. There are the kids. There is the crazy spouse. There is the job. There are thousands of things we need to get done. Still, we are not to worry.
INSTEAD SEEK/ENTER THE KINGDOM:It is interesting that Jesus said the solution and antidote for worry is seeking the kingdom. This section ends with that answer to worry. We are told not to worry. We are told to speak God's solution to our mountains. We are told to pray God's will for our problems. But never are we told to worry about our problems.
Matthew 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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Jesus connected materialism - earthly treasures and mammon - to worry. Do we realize that we only worry about our earthly treasures? We worry about temporal things. The emphases of our worry are things associated with self-indulgence - eat, drink, the body, and clothing/shelter. The truth is that those things do not produce real life. They produce real worry and real anxiety, but not real life.
WHY DOES JESUS ADDRESS OUR WORRYING? It's simple. Worrying will take us out of the kingdom of heaven. Worrying will block us from entering the kingdom of heaven. I don't mean we will lose our salvation if we worry. However, it is impossible to function in the supernatural as we should if we are consumed with worry. It is impossible to have righteousness, peace, and joy if we are having an anxiety attack. Father desires that our lives be full, happy, content, and abundant. Worry places us in a position where the abundant life is tremendously affected.
I probably need to take a moment here and make certain that we are on the same track with Jesus. There is nothing wrong with having nice things. As we have discussed, Jesus obviously dressed nicely if the solders gambled over his clothing at the cross. He obviously had money if he took care of twelve men for more than three years. He enjoyed staying at the nice homes of his friends. It's not that there is something wrong with having things. But something is amiss when we worry about having nice things or worry about keeping or maintaining the things we have. Something is wrong when having things control our thoughts. Also, we don't need to have nice things to worry about having nice things. A person can have nothing and worry about getting. A person can have and be anxious about keeping or maintaining. The issue is that the worry over materialism can and, if allowed, will control us. It becomes our master and therein lies the problem.
ELEMENTS OF WORRY:JESUS gives the three elements of worry - food (survival), body (health), clothing (shelter/things). Everything for which we worry is summarized in these three elements.
FOOD AND DRINK: - Matthew 6:26 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?
There are millions and millions of birds on earth and they are healthy and happy. They don't suffer from anxiety, hypertension, stress-related diseases, or high blood pressure. Why is that? It's because they don't worry. They don't even reap and sow, but Father takes care of them.
Jesus isn't saying that we should be lazy or meander through life aimlessly. Birds go hunting for food, but they don't worry about food. Birds plan for the future. Many fly south during the cold hard months. They build nests to birth their young. They do what they were created to do. Father takes care of birds and we are much more valuable than they. Father will make certain that we have what we need. Again, the point is to not worry and be anxious. We cannot allow things to control us and stop our seeking the kingdom of God.
THERE IS THIS STORY ABOUT AN OLD WIDOW WOMAN who was on a small fixed income. She was faithful to God and was constantly thanking God for providing her food and provisions. Her next-door neighbor was far from God and mean. The neighbor decided that she was going to show that old widow woman that it was not God, but people bringing her food and provisions. So, the neighbor went to the store and bought some groceries and put them on the widow woman's doorstep. When the widow woman found them, she began thanking God. The neighbor said, "See I told you that it was not God. I put those groceries there." The old widow woman looked up to heaven and said, "Thank you God for these groceries. You not only provided for me, but you made the devil pay for it."
God will take care of us even if he has to make the devil do it. God knows what we need for survival. If we will follow his cloud, he will send manna from heaven. If we receive his ministries, he will cause a little flour and a little oil to never run out. If we will seek his kingdom, he will multiply fishes and loaves. Our part is to seek the kingdom.
BODY/HEALTH: - Matthew 6:27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Worrying about food, drink, clothes, or our bodies will not add one single hour to our lives. Worry does the opposite. It shortens life and damages the quality of life.
The Harmone Foundation and The Endocrine Society reported a study dated 2001 in an article with the following statement.
"Stress can cause or worsen some of our most common killers - cancer, heart disease, and cerebrovascular [brain] disease. It is also directly related to other common disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, impotence, and depression. In addition, the stress of illness itself can hinder recovery from almost any disease."
When and if we are sick, we cannot allow worry to have a place. Instead of worrying and confessing how sick we are, we should speak to the sickness and say, "By his stripes I am healed" (Isa 53:5; 1Pe 2:24). We should say, "The Bible says that above all things God wants me to prosper and be in health" (3Jo 1:2). We should stand upon the word of God and get baptized, holy spirit filled believers to lay hands on us so we can recover (Mar 16:18). We can get the elders to anoint us with oil, lay hands on us, we will be forgiven of our sins, and the Lord will raise us up (Jam 5:14, 15).
LET ME TELL YOU A TRUE STORY that happened here not long ago. Someone was having surgery. Cancer had been found. After the surgery, the person's spouse called me and told me how bad things were. They were mastered by worry. I think they had begun planning the funeral. I said, "Wait a minute. That is not going to happen. You will live and not die. I have prayed for you and others have prayed for you and it's not your time yet." I said, "I curse that cancer in the name of Jesus. I speak health upon you. I speak peace upon you." I said, "God wants you to be prosperous and in good health. You will live and not die!" That person is in our congregation today. The cancer is gone. They are healthier and feel better than they have felt in many, many years. I am telling you that you cannot allow those things to be your masters. Jesus said that worrying will not help. The answer is seeking the kingdom of God.
I always get amazed when I know there are sick people in the congregation, but they don't come down for prayer. I ask them about that and they say things like, "Well, I came once." Listen, Laban had to dip seven times in the Jordan river, but he was healed of leprosy. The woman with the issue of blood had to keep pressing through until she reached the hem of his garment, but she was healed of cancer. The guy with the palsy had to get his friends to carry him and tear the roof off Peter's house and lower him before the Lord, but he was healed from paralysis. You need to get down here and let some people pray for you. You need to begin to speak God's word to that mountain. That's seeking first the kingdom.
CLOTHING/SHELTER: - Matthew 6:28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Matthew 6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Matthew 6:30 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, O you of little faith?
The lilies of the field are wild lilies or wild flowers, but they are beautiful. In dress, they outdo the greatest dresser whoever lived, i.e., Solomon. They are not even able to labor or spin. People can labor and spin, so what will God do for people? If God clothes the grass of the field with beautiful lilies which only exist for a few weeks, "will he not much more clothe you . . . ?"
We can expand this to financial situations. We worry about finances. Worrying about our finances will not change a thing. Can I tell you what will change your finances? The answer is seeking the kingdom of God first. What I mean is doing your finances the King's way. We need to take some action and stop worrying. We need to begin giving and then when things are tight we can say, "The Bible says that if I tithe, God will open the windows of heaven and poor me out a blessing." If we give alms to the poor, we can say, "The Bible says that if I give alms in secret, Father will reward me openly." We can say, "I give and it will be given to me, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together." We can say, "I give cheerfully and bountifully and I will reap bountifully."
This works! I did this in my finances. I have someone who wants to give a testimony one day about their giving. They got tight in their finances, so "the Lord's calf died." They stopped giving thinking that would fix their problem. The problem only increased. Finally, a light came on and they began tithing again and standing on the promises of God. Today, they are better financially than they have been in a long time. We seek the kingdom by standing on his word.
JESUS SAID, O YOU OF LITTLE FAITH? That's a question. Jesus questions our faith when we will not trust and believe God. Where is our faith that tells us how much God cares about us? Father wants us prosperous. He sent Jesus so our lives will be abundant. It's simply a matter of putting his kingdom principles first instead of everything else that will cause us to worry.
Matthew 6:31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Matthew 6:32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
Worry places the believer in the same category as the unbeliever. It removes us from the kingdom and places us in the natural world. If we live in the kingdom, we live in the supernatural. Father knows we need certain things and he will make certain that we have them.
Here is the answer to worry. Here is the antidote, the fix, the solution to any problem you or I will ever encounter.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
The answer is in the kingdom.
I AM NOT GOING TO GET ON MY SOAPBOX here, but how can we seek his kingdom if it has not come yet? How can seeking the kingdom be the antidote and answer to worry and anxiety if it's not obtainable yet? Would that not be silly of the Lord to tell us to seek the kingdom if it were not obtainable? See friends, the kingdom is obtainable now, today. We can live in the kingdom. We can see it (Joh 3:3) and we can enter it (Joh 3:5). It's at hand. It's where good eats await. It's where health awaits. It's where abundance awaits.
Deuteronomy 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
That passage goes on to say that we are blessed in the city and blessed in the country. Our children will be blessed and everything we have will be blessed. We are blessed by the favor of men. When enemies arise against us, the Lord will smite them before our faces. The Lord will command a blessing upon us. People will look at us and come to the Lord because we are so blessed.
Worry stops our blessings. Some of us are worried about our health. Stop worrying and seek the kingdom. Laban came for prayer and was healed after seven dunks. Some of us are worried about our finances. Stop worrying and seek the kingdom. Lift up your eyes like Jacob did and God will show you how to take pealed sticks and become wealthy. Some of us are worried about our children. There was a woman who had a daughter vexed with a demon. That means the daughter was giving her fits. She sought Jesus and his kingdom. Jesus took care of that demon. The girl didn't have to come and be exorcized. The woman went home and the girl was right. Stop worrying and seek first the kingdom. God will show you how to build an ark that will save your entire household. Some of us are worried about our spouses. Stop worrying and seek first the kingdom. Instead of complaining about him, begin to confess the word. Say, "He is the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus." Say, "He loves me and wants to take me out." Say, "He is a man of God and will lead our family into the kingdom." Lift up your eyes and begin seeing him differently.
It does not matter what you worry and become anxious about. If you will stop worrying and focus on the kingdom first, GOD WILL FIX WHAT YOU WORRY ABOUT. It's a promise. The blessings will overtake you.
With that promise made, Jesus said,
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus tells us something about how we are wired. We are not built to worry about tomorrow. We are created to take care of today's events.
I want us to think about something. People that have committed suicide did not commit suicide because they couldn't handle today's events. They committed suicide because they could not handle tomorrow's events. We are created to handle the trouble of today. We are not created to handle the trouble of today and the future. Tomorrow will have its challenges and troubles just as today has its challenges and troubles. We know we can make it today. With that reasoning, if we wait for tomorrow to become today, we will handle that as well. We would all go crazy if today we attempted to figure out every problem we will experience for the rest of our lives.
Stop worrying and seek FIRST the kingdom. If we will do that, God will supernaturally move on our behalf and deliver us from every problem. IT'S A PROMISE FROM GOD!