Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)
This morning we’re going to begin looking at passages that echo the sentiments of our theme verse for the year: “His divine power has given us everything we need.” (2 Peter 1:3). And we’ll start with these words from Jesus that are quoted above.
As I was reading for today, I came across a meditation on worry and thought I would share it with you.
“In some parts of my lawn, the grass is thick and green. In other areas, it's sparse and dry. There are even a few places where the grass is missing entirely. When I mow the lawn, I notice that where the grass is healthy, there are no weeds. Where the lawn is sparse, there are a few. Where there's no grass, the weeds flourish.
Every time I notice the weedy spots, I think, I really need to pull those things. So I do, but within a few weeks they're back—and I'm pulling them again. One day it hit me: I don't have to pull weeds where the grass is thick. Instead of spending all my time pulling weeds, maybe I [need] to invest time making the grass as healthy as possible. The more grass I had, the fewer weeds I'd have to pull.
The same applies to worry. Worry is like the weeds. God's peace is the grass. Instead of just focusing on eliminating my worries, I [need] to cultivate God's peace.” (Mike Bechtle, in an article for Discipleship Journal; quoted in the October 21, 2008, entry of Men of Integrity)
Bechtle gets to the heart of the real problem with worry. The problem is that, like the weeds, worry can consume so much time and energy that would be better spent elsewhere. As you’ll see, Jesus says the same thing in the passage from Matthew 6. Both would say that worrying is the opposite of doing something. Worrying is stationary, not active. Worrying puts us in a position of helplessness. I’ve found that, when I’m worrying, I’m usually not focusing on the true problem at hand.
This morning we’re going to be focusing on the weeds of worry. But my hope is that you will leave here wanting to pay more attention to the lawn of your life. I hope you will want to concern yourself, not with what might happen in the future, but what is happening in the present.
Perhaps the serenity prayer is in order here: “God grant us the courage to change the things that we can, the serenity to accept the things that we cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Worry is what happens when we fail to know the difference. May God grant us the courage to stop worrying and to turn to him today.