Christian Life: Anxiety
What is already thought-out and planned in our lives?
Exercise: Write out a list of our worries re. the next day, week and year. (Draw out the fact that they all seem reasonable) Matt. 6:25&34 Here is a tension: On the one hand we are supposed to be responsible, we have to plan, it seems like we have to worry. If we don?t worry, who will? On the other hand, Jesus says, ?Don?t worry about anything regarding the future.? We?ll talk about this tension tonight.
My own anxieties
First I thought I would share my own tendencies in this area. I have this tendency to think about one thing all the time, over and over again. Even if I can?t find a solution, I keep thinking about it. Example: ÿI?ve been having problems at work, I shared with some of you, where we may loose one of our main clients. We?re working on a proposal to save the situation, and it may work out. I still don?t know. But I?ve been thinking and worrying about this constantly for about a month now. What will we do if we loose them? How can we keep them? What if this happens? What if that happens? And it seems to me like I have to do this. This worry is necessary. When I read a passage like this, I think to myself, ?This has to be an exaggeration.? It can?t be that he actually means ?don?t worry about tomorrow.? That?s not possible and seems like it would actually be stupid.
The text: it?s about money (v. 19ff.)
Let?s look deeper into what Jesus is saying here. (read whole text) What is this text about? It?s about money. So it concerns my problem perfectly. Maybe what we could do here is look at the individual parts and understand them, then look at the big picture.
19-21: Where your treasure is
?Treasure on earth? we understand. We would all like to store up a little of that, right? Why not? But what is ?treasure in heaven?? What?s going to be in heaven? What he?s saying is that we should invest our time, our money, our resources in people.
v. 33: Seek first the kingdom. . .
This is where he explains how to store up treasure in heaven. What does it mean to seek first the kingdom? Matt. 22:34-40 This is the law of thekingdomofGod. We are supposed to seek these things. And what does he promise will happen if we do? This is a guarantee from God that if we seek first these things, he?ll take care of the other things.
Again, I return to this question: Is this an exaggeration? Is this possible? From one side, this seems like insanity. It seems like stupidity. Honestly speaking, when I read this, I want to take it as an exaggeration. You know when a person speaks, and this is a speech, they tend to exaggerate for impact. But then I look at a passage like Phil. 4:6 . . . Here is a passage that?s not a speech. He?s writing instructions to the church atPhilippi. And he says the exact same thing.
A relationship with God
There is an assumption here that serves as a foundation. And that assumption is just as hard to believe. What is it? It?s in both these passages. God cares about you. That?s easy to say. But let?s think about what it means. . . It means that there is a relationship here that is so detailed, he knows me so intimately, and he?s involved in the smallest details of my life. When we talk about ?believers? versus ?non-believers?, we?re talking about this right here. We?re talking about people who have this type of relationship with God. And before we have such a relationship with him, we have to remove the barrier that exists?the barrier of sin. A person has to turn to God and ask for this relationship, and ask for the forgiveness that makes such a relationship possible. This is the word ?repentance.? But for me, as a believer, this is still very hard to believe. . . Let?s look back at Matt. 6. . .
Who knows what Mammon is? This was a god of that time, the god of money. What does money give us? It gives us security, opportunities, . . . These are all things that God wants to give us. Why does he say you can?t serve two masters? It would be like getting married but keeping the lover on the side, ?Just in case you don?t make me happy.? God says this doesn?t work, it?s just not possible. You?re heart will go one way or the other. He also knows this: that if there?s a contest between him and money, he?ll usually lose. Money is so attractive and powerful, a man will do almost anything for it. . . And of course we know it?s not the money itself, it?s the things that money can get you. And those are the things that God want to give.