Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?' or `What will we drink?' or `What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the
"So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."
He brought the fruit to his mouth, marveling at its fragrance, the tautness of the skin and the beauty of its coloring. He opened his mouth to take a bite…and all hell broke loose.
If we had been there, knowing what we know, we would have struck it from his hand before he took that first bite. Because with that first bite, all manner of sins were let loose in the world and one of those sins was worry.
If you stop any Christian on the way into church and asked them, “Is worrying a sin?” probably most of them would say no.
However, if you look at any account of sin in the old or new testaments, you’ll find that sin can be categorized in three ways:
1) Sin damages our relationship with God.
2) Sin hurts other people and damages our relationships with them.
3) Sin damages our bodies.
Worry, when you evaluate it, is a double-barreled sin. It fits into two of these categories. Worry damages our relationship with God. Because when we worry, we do not trust God to care for us. Jesus points this out in today’s gospel lesson when he says,
Jesus goes on to say,
“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”
The fact is that not only can you not add an hour to your life by worrying, you actually shorten your life. Worry, also known as anxiety, damages our bodies and shortens our lives. It is a contributing factor in diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. It is bad for us, plain and simple. Our own bodies are wiser than we are, because when we worry, it feels bad. All sorts of warning signals flare. Our hearts race, our muscles clench, we can’t sleep, and we can’t eat; all these are signals that something is wrong and we need to stop it.
“But I can’t help myself!” many people will say when it comes to worry. And it does seem that some people are more prone to worrying than others. Plus, as we get older, we are more likely to worry because we know more about what can go wrong. Knowledge is at the root of worry and that is what happened back in the Garden. The fruit was on the tree and it was the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. And knowing what evil is brings fear of what it can do to us. If Adam had never bitten into that apple, if Eve had not listened to the serpent, we would all be better off. Worry is fear in casual clothing.
In the series of books by Jan Karon called the Mitford Series, Father Tim’s wife, Cynthia, tells Father Tim: “Fear is of the Enemy” When we listen to what the Enemy, or Satan, has to tell us, that’s when we start worrying. We listen to the Enemy instead of God, just as Adam and Eve did. We sin.
Yes, it’s hard not to listen to that voice. And God knows it is hard for us, but we have to keep trying to drown out the voice of the Enemy, because if we don’t, soon the voice of the Enemy will be only one we hear.
It takes a lot of effort to wrench your mind away from the contemplation of all that can go wrong and turn it to God. But like anything, using the mental muscles that turn our inward ear towards God gets easier with use. We will be sore and weary for a while each time we do it. But as we go on, it will be easier and easier. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon tells his son:
In the book of Proverbs, Solomon tells his son:
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. [a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
Trust the Lord, let love and faithfulness never leave you and worry will be far from your door. Mary C. Crowley, a Christian business woman said, “Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway.” Good advice, indeed!