God Likes You More Than Flowers
Jesus explains that if God takes care of birds and flowers, he will certainly take care of you!
Good morning. David Sorn. Pastor of Renovation Church.
Let me just start with a confession this morning:
I’m a worrier. I worry. A lot. I’m like a good mom.
I’m the type of guy that will just lay in bed for two hours with my mind racing just thinking about 14 different ways tomorrow could possibly go wrong.
I’m generally optimistic, so I believe it will all work out in the end, but that doesn’t mean I’m not worried about the process of getting there.
In fact, my wife Lindsey and I were talking the other day, and now that I planted this church, I would say that this is actually the most common misconception of who I am
I can’t tell you how many times since I’ve been in a group of people or at a workshop, or meeting someone new, and they’ll say, “Well, I bet you’re a risk taker aren’t you??”
And I’m thinking…you obviously don’t know me
And I suppose it has something to do with my upbringing
In my family, we joke that my mom didn’t say I love you, she said, “Be careful.”
“Bye Mom! Love you!”
“Mom, I’m walking one block to school now”
“Mom, I’m 28 years old and I’m driving home now.
“It’s not you I’m worried about…It’s the other drivers.”
So I learned, like many of us, to worry. And I’d say I’m pretty good at.
However, Jesus challenges our obsession with worry with his words in the sermon on the mount.
We’ve been studying the sermon on the mount (in Mt. 5-7) all summer, and today we will be continuing in Matthew 6:25-34
(Matthew 6:25-34) – NIV
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look 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? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If 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? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If you weren’t here last week, in the verses right before this passage, Jesus speaks of how we can not serve both God and Money…for if we’re not careful, “Money” can be what we live for, what we seek to make us feel good, what we seek to provide for us.
He continues this week by talking about worrying.
At first, those passages can seem quite unrelated.
But Jesus is not one to just throw out random things at his audience.
By the way, can you imagine being in the audience during his sermon on the mount.
I’d be the guy saying, “can you just slow down?”
But the passages are actually quite related. That’s why it’s often helpful to go verse by verse through the Bible.
Because someone listening to Jesus saying, who are you going to serve God or money, might then logically say, “But wait, If I choose God, how am I going to have anything?” “If I’m not always focused on my possessions, is this thing gonna work itself out?”
And then they might work themselves into a frenzy.
And for that, Jesus provides yet another answer.
HE’S IN CONTROL
Just like it was with MONEY, worry, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing.
If your car accidentally veered off a cliff and you were like, “Meh…I’ll be fine.” That’s not normal.
Worry/Concern is sometimes a natural/healthy reaction to a fearful situation.
It causes you to problem solve and figure things out.
Problem is…we worry about stuff that can’t be solved. We worry about things that already happen. Or that we have no power in. Or control over.
See, “Worrying” is really related to a lack of trust that things will work out. That things are under control.
Take driving for example.
Say you’re a decent driver, and you’re driving north on 65…up towards Cambridge…most tend to not have a lot of anxiety.
But, now, say it’s rush hour traffic, and you’re in a totally different city (like Chicago), and you’re merging between interstates…and your riding in a car while a 16 year old is driving.
Your worry level is going to go way up. And one of the main reasons is: YOU don’t have control.
And the spiritual reality here is: You’re not holding the wheel of life either. God is. God is ultimately in control.
And the question is: Do you trust the Driver? Do you trust his driving?
Because so often, excessive worrying is merely a symptom, a sign, or a lack of trust that God is in control of your life.
HE LOVES YOU MORE
But not only is He in control, He has the ability to provide you what you need, and WANTS to provide you with what you need
In verse 25, He says this:
(Matthew 6:25) – NIV
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
A natural response to that question might be, “If God could give me a body and life within it, he certainly can find a way to get me some clothes and food”
Keep in mind…this is a tough challenge from Jesus. He’s not speaking to kings and queens here. Almost all of his listeners would have been poor.
And he’s going to continually challenge them to trust, trust, trust in Him and just as importantly, keep their eyes on what this life is REALLY about.
And to remember how He really feels about them
Because it’s not just that He’s in control, it’s that he really cares about you too!
Which is actually quite different than a lot of religions today, and especially of a lot of the pagan gods of Jesus’ day
Jesus said this in verses 26-27
(Matthew 6:26-27) – NIV
26Look 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? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
I mean…think about birds for a moment. Birds spend their time doing what God ordained for them to do. Building nests, collecting food for their young, waking people up and the morning. And God provides for them.
Simple equation: They do what they were designed to do and God provides.
The problem is, WE don’t always spend our time doing what God would like us to do
We spend our time doing what WE think we should do
And unfortunately, because of our limited knowledge of how this world works and also the future, our way often isn’t the best way…so things don’t always work out so well.
THUS, we’re left to worry.
1) Because our way is not working
And 2) Well, because we’re just trusting ourselves and IT’S NOT WORKING!
But think about this illustration with the birds. I think we often think of this the wrong way.
We look at birds and think…well, it’s no big deal for God to take care of them. Everything is so simple. Put some sticks in front of them there. Grind things up in the gizzard, help them find a bird feeder there. Simple enough.
Well, that’s one way to look at it. Yes, I suppose it is simpler.
BUT, a different way to look at is this: It’s not just about simplicity: It’s that God loves you even more than birds (WAY more than birds), and thus will take even better care of you.
For example: (since I’m apparently using a lot of driving ex’s td) I have two cars.
One is 12 years old. 130,000 miles
The other is only 2 years old. We got a new car after (I hit a deer)
And how I take care of them doesn’t have much to do with how sophisticated or complex they are.
It isn’t like I take care of the older one better just because the technology in it is simpler and less complex (i.e. it’s awesome tape player)
NO, in fact, how I take care of them is directly in proportion to how much I care about them in the first place.
Don’t tell my old car, but I don’t really care that much about my old car…so I don’t take that good of care of him
Don’t wash him enough, don’t clean the inside enough, I don’t always take him for an oil change right at 3,000 miles (he’s made it this far)
But with our new car…it’s different right. I care. You look like you need a car wash….Lindsey… and so on
And it’s like that with God. He cares about humans SO much. He loves his children. He’s in love with you (you ever think about that!). He can’t stop thinking about you.
And he wants to do everything he can to take care of you…if you would only trust him to do so…because that’s part of the equation.
It’s like if a little kid runs off and says, “I do it my way!!!” Often parents say, “OK, try it out.”
And with God, it’s the same.
He’s not going to grab you and force you to live a certain way.
But as we begin to trust Him and let Him work in our lives, He wants so desperately to love us and take care of us.
Jesus shows us that not only does God take care of birds, but he also takes care of grass and flowers
(Matthew 6:28-30) - NIV
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If 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?
So we see the same is true with the grass and the flowers.
God chooses to “clothe” the grass with flowers, and yet even that was often cut, dried, and bundled as fuel for fire ovens. And if God chooses to take the time to clothe even that of such little purpose with beauty, won’t he also take care of you?
And again, it has nothing to do with…well that’s simpler, look at how complex my life is...Trust me…God can handle it!
He can pull you through. It might not be in the way you expect…but he will guide you through. He will be your Rock.
DO NOT WORRY
Jesus then challenges us not to worry about needless things.
(Matthew 6:31-32) - NIV
31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
The pagans (those who believed in idols and other gods) run after all of the things of the world but it is just a fruitless chasing of the wind. A pursuit that will never bring life.
Because you can keep worrying about will I get a job, will I get a promotion, will my kids be safe, will my kids marry the right person someday, will I be a good parent, will I have enough money, will I, will I, will I….and ultimately for what?
Our lack of trust of God is often frightening
SO frightening that people turn to the craziest things to soothe their worries.
You remember like 10 years ago when they always played those commercials where you could call Miss Cleo the Jamaican lady…and she would give you a psychic reading from Tarot cards?
People turned to that in masses to soothe their worries.
And they made millions…until they found out miss cleo was from Seattle and the psychics read scripts to people.
We look to fortune cookies as if some paper put in a cookie by Joe in packing plant in New York is going to ultimately let you know who you are going marry
We look to horoscopes as if the alignment in the stars has something to do with how my Sunday afternoon conversation is going to turn out
And why???…Because worrying often has SUCH a grip on us…and we just can’t relax enough to trust that God is in control AND He cares about you!
A writer hypothesized once that of the things we worry about:
40%—things that will never happen
30%—things about the past that can’t be changed
12%—things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10%—about health, which gets worse with stress
8%—about real problems that will be faced
Now, we can have no idea if that’s true or not…but the reality is so much of our worrying is worthless.
Wouldn’t you like to get rid of some of that worthless worrying in your life???
Jesus tells us the answer to help with that in verse 33
(Matthew 6:33) – NIV
. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This is the type of advice that’s a good life verse
Seek first…before anything else…His kingdom. Life like He is king. And then other things fall into place.
I watched the heartbreaking world cup soccer loss for the U.S. yesterday
And it got me thinking about playing sports growing up.
One of my problems was I always put practicing off. It was like the last thing I did.
I played soccer all through high school, and I would never start practicing until like a 3 days before we would start official practices.
As if my 3 days of dribbling a soccer ball around the trees in my back yard was going to make me an all star that year
And I imagine for those players on the U.S. Team, or any professional athlete, they put their practice first.
They practiced before they hung out with their friends, before they watched their tv, before they did their homework for many of them, before they ate, and so on.
And it’s not that this is a great philosophy for life, but in order to get where they did in their sport, they put that first, and then everything else sort of fell into place for them in their goal.
Well, you’re not on this earth to play soccer
You’re on this earth to play the extreme sport of following Jesus.
And it’s a difficult one.
And things aren’t really going to fall into place the way you want them to if living for Jesus only comes with your spare change minutes of the day
Seek FIRST his kingdom. Seek first his righteousness (living for Him)
Seeking it last is only going to make it easier to worry.
Because the less you know him, the harder it is to trust him
But conversely, the more you seek Him, the more you know Him, and the more you Know Him, the more you trust Him, and the more you trust Him, the less you worry.
And practice it in the little things. The more you can learn to trust Him in the little things, the more you’ll be able to trust Him in the larger issues of life.
It’s just like sports…you can’t be ready for the big game if you never practiced.
But we foolishly try that philosophy in our lives. We don’t live a consistent life of trusting God in even the little things, and then we get frustrated when it’s so hard to trust Him in the crisis moments of our lives.
Start small. Start thinking about it right now. What could you trust in Him for right now?
What little thing has he put before you in your life…right now…that you could say, “God, I’m going to stop worrying about this this week, and I’m going to start trusting you!”
DON’T WASTE YOUR LIFE WORRYING
Jesus reminds us one more time in this passage our the fruitlessness of worrying
(Matthew 6:34) – NIV
34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
So, we trust in Him. I mean yeah sure, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But God does. It’s not like He’s flying blind here.
He’s in the driver’s seat. He’s got a map. He’s been there before. He’s knows what’s around the bend, at the top, at the bottom of the hill, and on the other side.
So sure…be safe…you don’t need to be crazy…you can put your seat belt on…but sit back a little…recline a little. And relax. He’s a good driver.
And don’t get so obsessed with the unknown of the future. It’s like Jesus said: Tomorrow will worry about itself.
I read a story this week about a father of quadriplegic. His son lived for 32 years unable to care for himself.
So day after day, year after year, his father put every spoonful into his mouth, changed every diaper, and still maintained a happy home and life.
One day, he was asked by an outsider how he did it. And he simply replied, “I don’t worry about the long succession of tomorrows that might come. I just live a day at a time. I ask myself, ‘Can I feed my son today?’ And the answer was always, ‘Yes, today, I can do it.’”
Trust in God. Stop getting drunk of the fears of tomorrow.
And trust that He will get you through. He’s done it before.
One of the keys to eradicating worry in your life is learning to say thank you to God.
It’s taking a look back on your life and saying, “I guess this turned out okay.” “I guess this turned out okay.” “This one…well, I’m still alive anyway.” “This turned one turned out quite well!”
It’s checking God’s report card and realizing He’s actually done some pretty good things for you.
And then it’s applying the message that Jesus has been trying to hit home over and over in the Sermon on the Mount…He is the one we should trust.
When World War II was drawing to a close, some parts of the Allied Armies gathered up starving orphans.
The orphans were put in camps where they were well-fed. Despite excellent care, they slept very poorly at night. They just seemed so nervous, afraid, and anxious.
Finally a psychologist came up with the solution: Each child was given a piece of bread at night (not to eat) but to hold after he was put to bed.
It produced amazing results. The children went easily to bed each night knowing instinctively that they would have food to eat the next day.
God is our bread of life.
Hold on to Him closely each and every day…each and every night…and learn to trust that when tomorrow comes. He will be there.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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