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Posted: February 25, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Scharf: Do Not Worry!

"Is this stuff going on in Egypt a sign of the end of the world?" "If I lose my job, we’ll never make it." "I’m worried that we’ll lose our house." "What does all this mean for our kids?" "I can’t take one more loss. I’ll lose my mind!"

I’ve heard every one of these (or at least something close) just this week.

Yet the title of this column is "Do not worry."

Yeah, right.

What do you think I’d hear from the people who shared with me all the above concerns if I just told them not to worry? It’s impossible, right?

Just before our text in this Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34), Jesus had told us that we have to make a choice whether we would serve God or money. He said you can’t have it both ways. Then he starts this verse with "Therefore…do not worry." Since it doesn’t pay to live for money, since money is not our God, as much as we might sometimes act otherwise, there is no reason to worry about how we will be taken care of.

And the proof?

"Look outside," Jesus says.

Actually, let me just quote his sermon on this:

"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? 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

In other words, worrying makes no sense and it does no good, and no one enjoys it, so stop it!

But think about that picture. Birds don’t worry. They sing as they work. They fly around carefree. But, when you think about it, don’t they have so many more reasons to worry than we? They can’t store up food for months down the road, even days.

So the majority of their day is spent looking for food for that one day. They begin each day not knowing where their food is coming from.

Now compare that to how we act, even with full cupboards, when we hear of the forecast of snow. I’ve never seen the grocery store so busy, because we need to be prepared, right?

You think we worry a little too much on that one? God took care of the birds through it. All our worrying didn’t help us.

And then the picture of clothes: Jesus says, "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."

God takes care of us better than we ever could. Nowhere is that clearer than in our salvation.

Put all of our guilt and shame and stress, all our attempts at "good" and all our fighting of evil together and how much has it accomplished toward making us perfect?

Nothing.

Yet perfection is what is necessary for our salvation. So Jesus did it. God became man and Jesus lived a perfect life and died the death we deserved and offers and gives to us free of charge (without any payment on our part) that perfect record, that clean conscience, that spotless relationship with our God and Father. He has done it all, so do not worry.

After all, "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).

Amen.

Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.

 

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