Sunday, February 27, 2011
Feb. 27 Sermon: Don't Worry Bout a Thing
Sermon Texts: Isaiah and Matthew
Seems like there is a lot of pop-psychology these days for avoiding anxiety. And at the end of the day, those of us who probably need the message the most probably have added to our anxiety by realizing that we can’t seem to shake our anxiety. There must be something wrong with us! Why can’t I do this? Aaagh
I wonder if Jesus had a wife, what she’d think of this kind of sentiment, because I know my wife doesn’t really care for it when she’s worried about something, and I say, “don’t worry.” Usually, I get more “husband points” when I just listen to what she’s worried about and validate her concerns.
I can imagine the look on her face if I were to quote Jesus’ lines from today’s reading. “Well, look at the flowers—they’re not too concerned about what they will wear—let’s go!
Right after telling his followers to "be perfect," Jesus tells them, "don't worry" (Matthew 5:48, 6:25). In fact, he repeats himself five times.
In many ways, I feel like Jesus is here preaching to the choir, regarding worry and concern. I’ve always been fairly able to temper my concerns and worries with healthy dose of optimism (my wife would call it naivite)
I have little musical mantras that flood my mind when I’m feeling anxious about something. Bob Marley singing “Don’t worry, about a thing—cause every little thing, is gonna be alright,” to Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t you worry bout a thiiiiiiiiiiiiing.” To the Beach Boys singing “Don’t Worry Baby, Everything will turn out all right.” To Bobby McFerrin Singing “Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, don’t worry. Be happy.” Chuck D (of Public Enemy) Didn’t feel quite so optimistic about things—in “Fight the Power” he says, “Don’t Worry Be Happy was a number one jam, "man" if I say it you can slap me right here.”
But, notice that Jesus isn’t exactly being optimistic here, he says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, because today has enough troubles as it is.”
Scott Hoezee of The Center for Excellence in Preaching
“Jesus says that each day has enough trouble as it is. This isn’t just a philosophy of life—Jesus is probably speaking out of the experience that he and the disciples have had to this point. And we know what that trouble is. Sometimes it's sheer busyness. Most households these days need flowcharts just to figure out who needs to be where and when.
Especially parents of younger children live with the constant fear that they're forgetting something. "Each day has enough trouble of its own" our Lord said. If ever there were a Bible verse to which we could all shout a full-throated "Amen!", this is it.
Life is full of distractions. Any given day is chock-full of what we deem to be "interruptions" to what we'd really rather be doing. But in Matthew 6, by telling us both that our heavenly Father sees us in these daily lives and by inviting us to pray about those same lives, Jesus asks us to look at even our distractions, even our interruptions, through new eyes. If this is the context in which, somehow or another, we are able to seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, then that kingdom and that holy way of living is possible not by our breaking out of the routine but smack in the midst of it all.”
I remember when I used to work at UCLA and then at Occidental College, many students would often come to me with visible anxiety about “what they were supposed to do with their life.” Their own insecurities about the future were coupled with what they perceived their parents expectations to be. Sometimes I’d counter to them, “Well, what do you have going on RIGHT NOW?”
Tony Compolo asked in a sermon on this topic,
Are you going to do what God wants you to do today ? That is the ultimate question. Every day you should get up and say, “This is the day that the Lord has made. What doees God want me to do? What does God want me to achive this day?