Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not rob today of its sorrows—it robs tomorrow of its strengths.” When you worry, you are filled with fear and not strength. Fear becomes the burden we carry from day to day. Kierkegaard said, “No Grand Inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as anxiety, Worriers feel every blow that never falls and they cry over things they will never lose.i
Worry is what we do. We worry about our next meal, what we are going to wear, our house, the weather and a thousand other things. Is there another way to deal with the anxiety that is so common to all of us? Jesus said there was, and he gave us his perspective, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:22-23).
Jesus knows us from the inside out, and he knows what we worry about. Most of our worry boils down to worrying about our bodies—what we will eat, drink, and wear. Jesus wanted his disciples to not worry but trust God for all their needs. No matter what we worry about, the solution is to learn to trust God to meet all of our needs.
Jesus said, look at the ravens: they don’t plant and work the fields and wait for a harvest, and yet they never go hungry. The ravens and crows are everywhere, in every nation, and yet God feeds them. This is of course not an implication that we shouldn’t work. The Lord only knows that we have millions of able-bodied people who should be working who are not. Jesus was pointing to one of the most common of all birds that lives according to its instincts, and God provides for it.
Then Jesus pointed out something so important. Even though God takes care of the birds, “How more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24). Realizing our value to God is paramount with enjoying life. We are the apex of God’s creation and are more valuable than the animals. You wouldn’t think so if you listened to academia today who happens to think animals are of equal or even higher value than humans. God says otherwise.
I can see Jesus picking up a wild Poppy and admiring its beauty as he says, “…not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” (Luke 12:27-28).
Jesus emphasized the absurdity of worrying by asking this question: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26). The question is a rhetorical one–“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Of course, none of us can and since we can’t, then why do we worry about the rest?”
Jesus asks us to consider the brevity of life. This is another hurdle we have trouble getting over. From our youth, we fail to grasp this truth that life is so very brief. Consider what we lose by not understanding this fundamental concept of life. We fail to apprehend the wonderful opportunities that are there for the moment. If we know life is short, we can live these moments and express to our loved ones how much they mean to us. We can use our money in ways that are meaningful if we know our days are numbered. We can, with God’s help, choose to trust God instead of worrying for our daily needs.
i R. Kent Hughes, Luke, Volume Two, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL 1998, P. 53.