From: Su Min
Subject: Do Not Worry
My dear children,
Listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LordThe scripture passage for today is Matt 6:25-34. Read and hear the Rabbi speak to you.
Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry,
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth
(Ps 34: 11-16)
Jesus says, "Take no thought, do not worry, stop being perpetually uneasy, anxious, worried about your life, what you should eat, what you should drink, about your body, what you should wear.."
Worry worry worry. Some of us are happy go lucky. Most of us are worriers. Some are pathological worriers. We worry about anything and everything. What if such and such goes wrong? What if so and so does not come home on time? Could it be an accident? What if my investment goes wrong? What if my boss does not like my work? What if I cannot earn enough money. What if I cannot get enough to eat. What if I do not get enough designer clothes to wear. What if I am too fat, bust too small, bum too big, face too fallen? Will he still love me? Each tiny worry eats into our system like a worm. Soon we are like a can full of worms.
There is nothing wrong with systematic planning. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it (Luke 14:28). God has given us the intellect to plan and design our future programmes and activities. It is good to plan, to make sure we have a reasonable chance of completing what we do. But here Jesus is teaching us not to have undue worry about the outcome.
Particularly Jesus teaches us not to worry in three very basic common areas: food, physique & clothes.
There are a few people in this world still caught in the poverty trap, famine, war, where daily bread is an issue: Pray for them, that Almighty God would provide for their needs. Most of us are in the very fortunate situation of not having to worry about food: in fact for many of us it is a case of worrying what not to eat, too much cholesterol, too much red meat, too much uric acid, too many calories, not enough fibre, too fat, too thin.... As we feed ourselves upon the bounteous plenty (my cup runneth over) let us remember to give thanks to God for providing us with our physical needs, calling upon Him to bless the food that it may nourish us, that we may better serve Him.
Even as we drink plain tap water, remember that in rural societies such conveniences as piped water are not available. The water you bathe in, the water that goes into washing, the water that you drink, all precious gifts from God: come to us in modern day convenience that not available in many underdeveloped parts of the world. Too often we take these for granted. Pause a moment to thank God for water!
But even as Jesus taught us in Our Lord's prayer to ask for our Daily Bread, surely we must hunger and thirst for spiritual food on a daily basis, just as we intuitively know how to hunger for physical food and thirst for water. Just as God provides food for birds who do not sow or reap or store in barns: so too God will feed us, physical food and spiritual food. Learn to hunger for spiritual food. Learn to thirst for spiritual water. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
Your body. Jesus says do not worry about your body. Who by worrying can add a single hour to life? Indeed surely by worrying you will abstract time from your lifespan. Worrying about how long you live is counterproductive. We are all here on earth for a limited lifespan. Then we pass into eternity. There is no choice about that. But, there is a choice we have to make now, about whether we spend the rest of eternity with God or whether we spend the rest of eternity without God, with the other bloke! In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells of how Lazarus made the right choice but the rich man did not, and in his torment pleaded that his brothers be warned. Be warned!
Do not worry about your body. Do not let the mass media and the advertisers seduce you into thinking you can be sexier more successful if you have more hair/ less hair/ better hair/ coloured hair,/ shampooed hair (only X brand shampoo? cut by XYZ hairdresser, anti-dandruff, skin conditioner, lipstick, war paint, anti pimple cream, deodorants, perfumes to make them swoon, a chest that looks like an advertisement for breast milk, harnesses to push them up and push them out, abdominzers to develop muscles with a capital M, workout machines to buy for many dollars and keep in your cupboard... It is one thing to keep neat and trim, but when looks become an obsession, time to recall the teaching: do not worry....
Why do you worry about your clothes? Open your spiritual ears and hear what Jesus would have to say about Gucci, Dior, Armani, Reebok and host of other brand names. Again, there is nothing wrong with branded goods. Some of them are very elegant indeed. It is fun to possess a piece or two. Some of my nice clothes have fancy brand labels. But when our whole wardrobe is nothing but branded goods, then I believe we have got caught up in an ungodly frenzy. Jesus put is so well when he says "Consider the lilies of the field...." There was a Sidney Pointer film using that quote as a title and in which the actor uses the same teaching... powerful stuff. Indeed even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these! If King Solomon could not, what more we lesser mortals! If that is how God clothes the grass of the field which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire and converted into smoke and ash, how much more will He clothe us, his children, whom He loved so much that He sent His son to come to redeem us, buy us back at the price of His blood, shed on the cross for you and me?
The clothes you and I should seek are not grubby temporal ones, stained scarlet with our own wrong doing.. No, indeed, we should seek robes washed white as snow...Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18). They have washed their robes and made them white as snow (Rev 7:14).
I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).
To round up this teaching Jesus points out that pagans run after these basic needs. God knows your needs and will provide them for you. Do not worry about what you should eat, what you should drink, about your body, what you should wear. Do not place these things as your first priority. Do not make them into little gods or a big god that you worship. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
Are you a worrier? Jesus says "Do not worry". Are you a compulsive worrier? Are you burdened with worries? Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28).
Let us pray.
Almighty God, thank You for our lesson today.
Abba Father You know each one of us so intimately.
Free us from the bonds of worry, O God.
Set us free from worrying about our bodies, what we eat, what we wear, how we look.
Help us to be grateful for what we receive from You, Jehovah Jireh, Our God who provides.
Help us seek Your Kingdom, Almighty God, and help us pursue Your righteousness.
Help us to seek Your glory and do Your will.
In the precious Name of Jesus. Amen and Amen!
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
Back to Antioch's Well
Back to Antioch's Home Page