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"Don't Worry, Be Trusting" (Sermon on Matthew 6:24-34)
May 25, 2008 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson

Posted on 05/25/2008 1:01:50 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson

“Don’t Worry, Be Trusting” (Matthew 6:24-34)

Welcome to the Non-Worriers Hall of Fame. In our exhibits you will meet some of the most famous non-worriers in history. These are the champions of carefree living, down through the centuries. Stress was a stranger to these advocates of the anxiety-free life.

Here in our first display we meet Alfred E. Newman, the goofy-looking cover boy of Mad Magazine. Alfred’s motto is as famous as his gap-toothed grin. It’s the simple question, “What, me worry?”

Next in our Hall of Non-Worriers we come to the well-known singer Bobby McFerrin. Bobby captured the airwaves in the late 1980s with his smash hit with the catchy refrain, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Then there are these two animal members of the Non-Worriers Hall of Fame, namely, Timon and Puumba, the meerkat and the warthog from the movie, “The Lion King.” These two loved to sing their theme song, “Hakuna Matata.” “It means no worries for the rest of your days.” “It’s our problem-free philosophy.”

Then there is the greatest non-worrier of them all, Jesus of Nazareth. This famous teacher taught people not to worry with some very memorable sayings, for example: “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.” Jesus told people to be as worry-free as the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’”

So we hope you’ve enjoyed our little tour of our Hall of Fame and meeting the great non-worriers: Alfred E. Newman, Bobby McFerrin, Timon and Puumba, and Jesus of Nazareth. Oh, and don’t worry if you can’t find the way out, it’ll be all right. Have a nice day!

Is that it? Does you-know-who really belong with those other guys? I mean, was what Jesus of Nazareth taught as simple as saying, “What, me worry?” or “Don’t worry, be happy” or “Hakuna matata, no worries”? Was Jesus just the Bobby McFerrin of the first century? Well, I’m sure you can see that I set you up by putting Jesus in the Non-Worriers Hall of Fame. For of course what Jesus taught had a lot more depth to it than just the carefree caricature of those others.

How so? Today I’ll give you three reasons, based on our text, why Jesus’ teaching is more than just a light and carefree “Don’t worry, be happy.” Instead, the message that Jesus teaches his disciples is more like, “Don’t Worry, Be Trusting.”

The first reason is not actually stated in the text but is implied by how, in our lives today, we even go beyond the text with our worries. You see, in our day, we worry about things we don’t even need. In the text, the things Jesus teaches his disciples not to worry about are at least things they need: food, drink, clothing--the basic necessities of life. Those folks were worrying about having enough to get by. We worry about what to do with all the stuff we have.

We worry about things we don’t even need. We ask the same questions as those folks back then did--“What shall we eat?” “What shall we drink?” “What shall we wear?”--but the context is different. “What shall we eat?” Shall we order the pasta primavera or the linguine alfredo? The primavera is lower fat . . . but if we split a dessert I suppose I could still get the alfredo. “What shall we drink?” Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist? What size should I get my café mocha--grande, largo or venti? “What shall we wear?” Do these white pants make my butt look big? Which black clerical shirt should I pull out of the closet today? Decisions, decisions. . . .

You get my point. Even with rising gas prices, the things most of us worry about go way beyond the level of bare necessity. If we had to make do, we could probably rearrange our budgeting and our lifestyle a little and we could at least get by.

But for some of us, even the basics of life might be a struggle. What then? Are we allowed to worry? No, Jesus doesn’t put it like that. What Jesus does is to redirect our thinking and to lift our eyes. He raises our sights above worry and anxiety to faith and trust, to faith in our heavenly Father. Jesus takes us to the source from which all of our help and our blessings come.

This is the second reason, then, not to worry: We have a heavenly Father who knows what we need. Jesus came pointing his disciples to their kind and loving Father in heaven. Listen to what he says: “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?” “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 arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Food, drink, clothing--your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Lord, we believe, help thou our unbelief! Help us to trust in our heavenly Father, in his goodness and kindness and care! So often we think we’re out here on our own. We live like functional atheists. But we forget that God is watching over us and taking care of us, providing for us in our needs.

Now to be sure God does this through means, through people. He gives us the ability to work for our living. He would have us make wise decisions and not be wasteful. God provides for us through people: our fathers and mothers, our extended family and our church family, friends and neighbors, employers and farmers and so on. These all are channels of blessing by which God shows his care for us. The chicken doesn’t just fall out of the sky and land on our table. There are steps in between. But nevertheless we want to acknowledge God as the source of all our blessings. We thank him for our food and drink and clothing, our daily bread, and we trust him that he will continue to take care of us from day to day.

That then leads into the third reason Jesus gives us here not to worry about our daily needs, and it is this: There are more important things we should be seeking after. Listen to what Jesus says: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

There are more important things to be seeking after than just food for your belly or clothes on your back. You can do all that, you can have all that, and still miss out on what is so much more important. Think of the rich fool, who stored up grain and had wealth for years to come. Then that night the voice came to him: “Thou fool! Tonight thy soul is required of thee!” You see, there are much more important things to be “worried about,” if you will, matters of life and death and eternity. You can have all the wealth this world has to offer, you can have all the home theatre systems and Maseratis and a McMansion on a hill, but you can’t take any of it with you.

That’s the stuff that the people of this world seek after and pursue. If you want something really worth seeking after, try this on for size: the kingdom of God and his righteousness. The kingdom of God. That’s what Jesus came teaching. That’s what Jesus came bringing. The gracious rule and reign of God among men. God’s end-time salvation. For the end-time judgment is coming, it’s right at hand. How will you stand in that great day? Your sins will accuse you. How will you escape and come free? Therefore listen to Jesus, flee to him. He comes bringing the salvation you need. That is your greatest need, the kingdom of God and his righteousness. He alone provides you with the righteousness that will stand up and pass muster in that day. So seek it now, now as Jesus stands here bringing it to you.

You see, the big seeking is what Jesus came to do. He came to seek and to save the lost. That’s us. We were lost, drifting around in this world, thinking we’re on our own, worrying about our stuff, and not giving a thought to God. But Jesus came and sought us out. He is the supreme gift from the Father, who came down from heaven for us men and for our salvation. Jesus gives us the righteousness we need. We could not keep God’s law as we ought. Jesus did. We could not pay for our breaking of God’s law. Jesus did. He did that on the cross, for you. His death and resurrection win for you forgiveness for your sins, eternal life in God’s kingdom, and righteousness to stand on the Last Day, the perfect righteousness of Christ your Savior.

So seek after these things, the things Christ comes and brings right to you as a free gift: the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Hunger and thirst after these things, after righteousness, and you will be richly satisfied. For out of the same goodness with which your heavenly Father feeds and clothes you from day to day--out of that same goodness your Father feeds you with the bread of heaven, gives you to drink from the cup of salvation, and clothes you with robes of righteousness for eternal life in his kingdom.

St. Matthew Lutheran Church-Bonne Terre MO invites you to listen to 30 minutes of the previous week's service every Sunday morning, 8:15-8:45 a.m. (Central), streaming online at krei.com.


TOPICS: Religion
KEYWORDS: lcms; lutheran; matthew; sermon
Matthew 6:24-34 (ESV)

[Jesus said:] “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. 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 which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious 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 arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

1 posted on 05/25/2008 1:01:51 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson
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To: lightman; old-ager; Cletus.D.Yokel; bcsco; redgolum; kittymyrib; Irene Adler; MHGinTN; ...

2 posted on 05/25/2008 1:06:11 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Just plain excellent! Thanks much, Rev.!


3 posted on 05/25/2008 1:38:42 PM PDT by JennysCool (They all say they want change, but they’re really after folding money.)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Thank you so much ... what a great sermon! Wish I could have heard it in person. BTW, the picture reminds me of my wonderful Grandmother on my father’s side ... she lost my grandfather while she still had three boys at home, raised them while running a farm and still lived into her nineties reading her Bible daily. God IS good to us, His blessings abound even in our muddle.


4 posted on 05/25/2008 2:24:28 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: Finny

ping


5 posted on 05/25/2008 2:33:54 PM PDT by Finny (Democrats do Mommy Government. Today's Republicans do Daddy Government. Conservatives do Freedom.)
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To: Charles Henrickson

Great sermon. Thanks!


6 posted on 05/25/2008 2:38:01 PM PDT by Finny (Democrats do Mommy Government. Today's Republicans do Daddy Government. Conservatives do Freedom.)
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To: Charles Henrickson
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?--Answer.

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

7 posted on 05/25/2008 4:30:03 PM PDT by lightman (Waiting for Godot and searching for Avignon)
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To: Charles Henrickson

LBW Collect for 21st Sunday after Pentecost; also for Harvest Home:

Almighty God,
source of every blessing,
your generous goodness comes to us anew every day.
By the work of your Spirit lead us to acknowledge your goodness,
give thanks for your benefits,
and serve you in willing obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


8 posted on 05/25/2008 4:36:12 PM PDT by lightman (Waiting for Godot and searching for Avignon)
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To: lightman
In this morning's service, after confessing the Apostles' Creed, we read aloud together just what you quote, the First Article with its explanation.

One advantage of the Lutheran Service Book is that it has in it the Small Catechism.

9 posted on 05/25/2008 7:26:29 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (Lutheran pastor, LCMS)
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To: Charles Henrickson
One advantage of the Lutheran Service Book is that it has in it the Small Catechism.

It's good that one of the two new service books introduced last year is a real Lutheran hymnal.

I've posted a few times on ALPB forum that if I were forced to use a new book I would take LSB over ELW without hesitation. Of course, the older I get the more I appreciate the 1958 Service Book and Hymnal, even though I never worshipped where it was in use. There are some excellent collects, including for the conversion of those in Islam and for the Armed Services. We'll probably never see anything like that again in the ELCA.

10 posted on 05/25/2008 7:36:52 PM PDT by lightman (Waiting for Godot and searching for Avignon)
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