Don’t worry, get busy
I sometimes think this sounds like the sort of phrase that should be posted in what Douglas Adams would have referred to as “large friendly letters” somewhere prominent!
But we do worry don’t we, often rather a lot.
Despite most of us having no need to, we worry about things that really don’t require worrying about, details and minor points.
In this passage today Jesus is telling his audience not to worry about what they will eat or drink or what they will wear.
Hang on? Those are really basic things, surely if we’re in a position to need to worry about them, then it’s ok to worry? Isn’t it?
After all if we’re worrying about those things, well,.. they’re important,
They’re not what are known as “first world problems” -what wine to chose, will my phone battery last to the end of the day, Waitrose only had my 2nd favourite coffee in stock
Worrying about food, well that’s ok… right?
Jesus is trying to teach his listeners about priorities
Like very often in his teaching he uses exaggeration to make a point,
His point here is not that we should have an over laid back attitude to providing for our families,
Nor that we should just not care or not plan
He’s not saying don’t think about what & where you save, or squander our resources
But all these things are not actually meant to dominate our lives,
They’re not meant to take all our focus and our time & energy,
We’re not to worry, to dwell on, to bury ourselves in these things.
The message Jesus is telling his audience here is that the thing above all else that we should remember is that we are made & created by God himself, and he values us more than we can know.
Gods care for us goes deeper than food & clothes, it goes right to the heart of who we are, our identity and value to him.
Whatever we wear, however we look, whatever image we portray God loves us
Whatever we eat, wherever we shop, God loves us
Whatever we live in or however we choose to decorate our homes, God loves us.
We’re blessed and looked after in the deepest most profound way that we can be, by knowing that the God who created the entire universe, cares deeply about each of us,
Regardless of our status, our tastes our income
We are loved. And valued
We know in this place and this area that the majority of us are also blessed with so much else
And this passage wakes us up to those who have so much less than we do too.
Because what we can’t do first to someone with nothing is say “ don’t worry” because that is plainly bonkers, because all they will be doing is worrying.
James say is in chapter 2, v 15
Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
But you say Jesus is telling us not to worry because God will take care of us”
The answer to this conundrum I think is in the thing he tells us to do instead of worrying
“seek first the Kingdom”
What is that going to do? It sounds a bit super spiritual, a bit too “holy”
Don’t worry, set your minds on higher things… <pats on head>
Seeking the Kingdom, isn’t about sitting around having holy thoughts
Seeking the Kingdom is about rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty
Seeking the Kingdom is about feeding the hungry, giving clothes and shelter to the homeless. Soup runs and food banks, night shelters and women’s refuges
It’s about setting free the oppressed, advising & helping those in the chains of debt, and addictions, and abusive relationships.
Getting in there and getting involved, making a difference in real people’s lives.
It means listening to your depressed neighbour and bringing some glimmers of hope,
It means visiting the older person who is stuck in the house, and enabling them through you to see the world around them a bit more –sight to the blind.
Seeking the Kingdom too means raising your voice against the injustice, the inequalities and the downright obscenities that seem to punctuate our dealings with those on the edges
It means writing and signing, complaining and exclaiming, like so many of our bishops did this week,
it means getting cross that in our western developed economy we even have to get angry that people are starving.
It means campaigning and speaking out, making sure that everyone knows that God values ALL of us more than the lilies of the field and the birds of the air,
ALL of us, not just the neat, the stable, the intelligent the well educated, but those who are ill or destitute or abused, addicted or at the very end of their rope,
Seeking the Kingdom means speaking for those with no voice,
Jesus said “whatever you do for the least of these you do for me”
ALL of us are loved and cared for,
Let us really stop worrying about ourselves, about the small stuff, and let us truly passionately Seek first the Kingdom, working for its growth and results and let us be the people who help the truth of our real worth, our real identity in God to be truly known by absolutely ALL.