Remember the Mad Magazine cover with Alfred E Neuman asking, "What, me worry?" Perhaps I'm reaching too far back for some of you, but his iconic face and this question were a popular sight in the heyday of Mad Magazine (1960's-70's). It was the first irreverent and satirical magazine to impact pop-culture. Now, we are deluged with irreverent satire in all sorts of media.
A few days ago I read through a familiar passage in the Bible. It's familiar to those in Christian circles. Something simple caught my attention this time. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), Jesus gives insight and practical advice on how to live within God's kingdom. It's practical, yet spiritual. It's not mystical, but deals with motives of the heart and internal struggles. What do most people struggle with on a daily basis? Worry.
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus' basic message is don't worry! Don't worry about what you eat, wear or what the future holds. His remedy is this—make life in God's kingdom and a good relationship with Him your priority. The rest will take care of itself. Actually, Jesus promises that God will take care of it. Of course, this requires faith in God and His faithfulness (Heb 11:6), but that's a whole other topic.
Here's what caught my attention— "Everyone is concerned about these things…" (Matt 6:32 GW). Other Bible versions express it differently, but the truth remains. The rich man worries about all his stuff (material wealth). The poor woman worries how she'll feed her family each day.
When I was a young believer, and new husband and father, I would often sit in my "worry chair." It was a big vintage-60's, wing-backed, turquoise chair inherited from my grandmother. I could spend an easy hour or so just worrying about how to support my young family, and what I should do with my life. After sitting and worrying, I would get up feeling worse than when I sat down.
Staring at me, on the wall across from the chair, was an artistic calligraphy of Proverbs 3:5-6, with a similar message as Jesus' on trusting God. These verses, their truth, are burned into my memory. That is a good thing.
But as I much as I know it, I still struggle with worry. Now I look back some 40-some years and wonder what the future holds. I've seen God's faithfulness over the years, so I don't doubt Him. But I worry about different things now and tend to doubt myself.
I'm not going to get into all that, because that's not my point. We all worry and we all tend to doubt God. God knows this. He knows us, even when we may think we're drifting alone in this life.
The resolve to worry is still the same, trust. Trust God. Use whatever smattering of faith you have and throw it in the face of worry and doubt.
What are you worrying about at present? Be honest with yourself and God! BTW, how's all that worrying working out for you? Maybe it's time for a change.
“Don’t ever worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Everyone is concerned about these things, and your heavenly Father certainly knows you need all of them. But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you. “So don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:31-34 GW)