Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do Not Worry! A sermon from Dromore High School Harvest Thanksgiving on Monday 22 October 2007. Matthew 6:25-34

I wonder if you have any worries today? Anything you’re concerned about? I won’t ask you to put your hand up if you are worried about anything, because I’m sure it’s quite a few of us.

I don’t want to make you worry, but some of the things you might be worrying about could be: spots, boys or girls, your looks, your parents, your exams, whether your friends like you, your health…

Even Mr Wilkinson will be worried about a few things. Maybe not about his hairstyle these days, but he will be concerned about some things!

In the Bible reading we heard earlier, we hear what Jesus says about worry. Here’s what he said – ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more important than food, and the body than clothes?’ (6:25)

As we’ll see, Jesus says that you don’t have to worry about things that come up in our life. The reason not to worry is because of God, our Father. We don’t have to worry because God values us, and because God already knows what we need!

So let’s look at what Jesus says about how valuable we are. ‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’ (6:26)

Jesus is saying that God cares more about us than he does about the birds of the air, and because he cares, he will provide us with what we need. Did you ever see a bird sowing seed and growing its own food? Did you ever see a bird worrying about the price of things in Tesco?

So if God provides for the birds of the air without them doing anything to help themselves, then how much more will God care for us, and provide for our needs?

In Psalm 50, God reminds us that he owns the cattle on a thousand hills; (Psalm 50:10) and to expand that vision, Psalm 24 tells us that ‘the earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.’ (Psalm 24:1). Can you see that God rules over all, and that because God rules over all, then he can provide for your needs?

Jesus then goes on to talk about worrying about clothes. Who doesn’t worry about clothes? I’ll let you into a secret – this morning when I was getting ready I worried about my clothes – what would I wear today? Should I go for jeans, or for the suit? But as we’ll see, Jesus says that we don’t have to worry about our clothes.

‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour 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, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?’ (Matt 6:28-30)

Do you know something? I really love harvest time, as the leaves change colour and start to drop off the trees. Down in Dublin last week I was like a big child kicking the leaves and hearing them crunch. Or just pause and look around you today. Look at the variety of colours and textures and even flavours (but don’t eat the apples!). In all these things, we see how much God provides for his creation.

In Genesis, we read of the beginnings of the world, and after every time that God creates something, it says this – ‘And God saw that it was good’ (Gen 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25), and then at the end of the creation, it says that ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ (Gen 1:31)

Without worrying, without stressing, the flowers are clothed with amazing colours. They don’t have to do anything about it, they just have to be.

Who would you say is the most fashionable person in the world? If you had to pick someone who was the best dressed, who would it be? Maybe Victoria Beckham, or one of the supermodels? The example Jesus uses was King Solomon. Solomon had been king of Israel about 1000 years before, and had lived in luxury. We read in 2 Chronicles 9 that ‘King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.’ And elsewhere in 2 Chronicles that he made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and owned fourteen hundred chariots.

Yet, Jesus says that the lilies of the field are better dressed than Solomon, who must have spent thousands on his clothes. So if God makes sure the lilies are looking well, then how much more will he look after us and provide clothes for us?

So far we’ve heard what Jesus tells us not to do. He has told us not to worry, because God cares for us, and because God knows what we need. But at the end of the passage we read, Jesus turns it around, and tells us to do something else in its place.

What happens when you worry about something? If you’re anything like me, then you’ll think about something over and over again. You’ll try to solve the problem, and look at it lots of different ways. Your mind will be like a washing machine, turning it around and around. You might not even be able to sleep if you keep thinking about your worries.

When we worry, we make our problems bigger. It makes us think that we have to solve it all ourselves. [But you don’t have to solve it yourself. Talk to a friend, or someone else who can help you.]

Instead, Jesus calls us to trust in God. We don’t have to worry about things like boys or spots or clothes, if we have faith that God knows what we need, that he loves us and that he will provide for us. So what to do instead of worrying?

Jesus says that it’s a matter of getting our priorities right. Here’s what he says. ‘So do not worry, saying “What shall we eat?” or “what shall we drink?” or “what shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ (6:31-33)

We don’t have to worry about food or clothes or anything else. Instead, we’re called to trust our Father – God knows what we need. Because he knows what we need, he can provide it for us. But what does it mean to seek first his kingdom?

Earlier we read from Psalm 24 that the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. God created the world, and is the king. The choice for us, then, is whether we will recognise him as king – as our king, or live in rebellion against him.

Will you live for God, living the way he wants you to? The promise is there in Jesus’ words that when we live for God, then God provides for us – ‘all these things will be given to you as well.’

As we’ve seen today, Jesus calls us not to worry, because God knows what we need, and will provide for us. Later on in the Bible, Paul writes in Philippians these words: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil 4:6-7).

Jesus says – do not worry… but seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


  1. spots/acne. It's a well known fact that many teenagers are affected by acne!