Don't Worry, Be Happy
Jesus tells us why worrying is not only a waste of time but won't lead to happiness.
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Well, before we get started this morning, I wanted to make a quick announcement.
As you saw in your handout on the way in this morning, Renovation Church is getting an office!
Our staff has been working out of their homes for as many as 4 years now, and as the staff continues to add hours and grow numerically, it’s time for us to all work together.
We were actually able to lease the office space directly above where our youth group, The Remedy, meets.
And now both floors are packaged in our lease, which is great because not only will we have offices there, but we’ll be able to use the bottom floor 24/7 as well…
Which means we can host our summer classes for our School of Theology in the larger youth group room.
The offices are directly north of Carol’s Restaurant…if you know where that is…close to 65.
So, we are quite excited about this, and could use your help.
We are a fiscally responsible church, and we want to be able to save money wherever possible.
And I know many of you have desks sitting in a home office that you maybe don’t use, or extra office chairs, or couches, or maybe even your work has any of those things listed on the handout.
If so, we’d appreciate your generosity and help.
It doesn’t need to be something that would go in a palace either.
I mean, we don’t want your junk…we’re not going to be a recycling service…but it doesn’t’ have to made in Italy or something.
Of, if you don’t have something to donate, but still want to help, you can always give a giftcard to an office store or something like that.
Thanks for your help!
Well, we are starting a new series this morning called “Future / Past”
It’s going to be an interesting series.
If you think about it, so much of what causes us stress and pain in our lives is primarily about the future and the past.
So, I wanted to devote a series to addressing some of those issues.
Our worries about the future…
Our bitterness and unforgivness about the past
Those are some of the topics we’re going to cover in this series.
And this morning, we’re going to start in the future.
And perhaps our biggest difficulty with the future is simply our worries about what the future is gonna look like.
And despite all of our advances, our medical advances, advances in transportation safety, our increasing life expectancy, we worry more than ever.
In fact, some studies say that even our average children exhibit the same amount of anxiety today that adults who had anxiety problems exhibited in the 1950’s.
We are a culture of worry-warts.
We worry about all sorts of things that could happen to us in the future:
Sickness, getting old, death, being single, not being able to have kids, getting divorced, not being successful, getting fired, not getting a job, getting a house, losing a house, loved ones dying, children getting hurt or sick…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
What do you worry about? What consumes you? What do you think about?
Or how about this question… “What keeps you up at night?”
Because a lot of us aren’t sleeping well
It’s a major problem in the U.S.
No one’s sleeping.
I mean, you’re all sleeping 8 hours every night, right? Right…..
Now, Worry can sometimes be a natural/healthy reaction to a fearful future situation.
It causes you to problem solve and figure things out.
If for instance, you wake up in the morning and you’ve got spots all over your arms.
You should say, “Huh, this isn’t good. I probably should see a doctor.”
That’s about as far as worry should go. Help you take action about the things you can control.
The problem is we take it further to the things we CAN’T control.
The things that we have no power over.
“Well, I wonder what this is… Is it serious? Is it contagious? Maybe I’m getting leprosy like that guy in the Bible we talked about…maybe I’m gonna die!
We spend a big chunk of our time in the future.
Sociologists say that we spend just about 2 hours a day of our waking time…thinking about the future.
People are worried about their lives, their relationships, their work, are they a failure or not?
And they’re anxious about it. They’re stressed out.
They’re lying in bed, for an hour every night, just thinking…just worrying about the future.
Many are taking prescription drugs because they can’t turn off their brain.
Others are so worried about the future, because they just HAVE to know what happens, that they turn to silly things like psychics or horoscopes.
I don’t mean to ruin it for you, but you know horoscopes are written by some dude in his mom’s basement, right?
Scorpio: Today will be a monumental day for you. You’ll meet someone.
That’s just some dude in his mom’s basement hoping he’ll meet someone.
What are you worried about?
What keeps you up at night?
When you get stressed out, what are you stressing about?
Jesus knows that humans are worriers. Chronic worriers.
We’ve got a problem when it comes to thinking about our futures.
So he talks about it.
He gives some brilliant advice.
I want to take a look at his words this morning in the book of Luke…one of the 4 books about the life and teachings of Jesus.
Or, you can see the verses on our brand new Renovation Church app…
Just go to your app store and download it.
(Luke 12:22-23) – NIV
22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Jesus has simply told us: Do not worry about (and he takes some broad strokes here) your life. Don’t worry about your life.
Easier said than done.
Thankfully he gives us more.
I want to show you today, in our passage, that Jesus gives us 3 reasons why we shouldn’t worry.
And then 1 way in which we can be happy instead.
Which is why, we’re talking about “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” today.
Because we know the one thing worrying doesn’t make you feel: is Happy.
But what if you weren’t worrying about the future?
Let’s dive more into the passage and more into Jesus’ reasons not to worry
REASON #1: GOD PROVIDES
(Luke 12:24) – NIV
24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Now, I’m actually going to hop over the next two verses (just for a moment)…as they are kind of a parenthetical comment.
Verses 27 & 28 go with verse 24 (which we just read)
But if you don’t believe me, you have the Bible in front of you, so feel free to check it out
(Luke 12:27-28) – NIV
27 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 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—you of little faith!
So Jesus gives these two illustrations for why we shouldn’t worry:
That God feeds the ravens & clothes the lilies.
So, the #1 Reason (if you’re writing this down) why we shouldn’t worry is because God Provides.
Now, when he’s talking about the Ravens, he’s not talking about the Baltimore ravens…the football players who are getting paid millions of dollars.
He’s talking about the actual gross bird…the Raven.
Jesus is saying: “If God can provide for a bird, don’t you think he will provide for you? How much more does he love you compared to the Raven?”
And the same with the lilies.
God cares about you so much more, and yet he clothes the lilies, so trust that he can clothe you.
Jesus is saying, we don’t have to worry because God can provide the things we need.
To which, some of you might respond; “Okay, but when I think about the future, I’m not thinking about will I have enough food to eat…will I have enough clothes to wear…I’m not in a developing country here.”
Okay, but the look at the lesson again.
Think about birds. There’s a ton of them out right now in MN.
Birds aren’t lazy.
SO this isn’t like, “Don’t worry man…God’ll provide…it’ll all work out, let’s just move to Colorado and smoke pot”
The birds are working hard…building their nest, ruining my lawn digging for worms, spitting worms out of their mouth and awkwardly feeding their young..
But, and here’s the key…here’s the lesson….
They trust God to provide.
They’re hard workers…and they’re not anxious hoarders…..
Or, last week, when I was watching all of the Robins on my lawn…and then it snowed 10 inches…
They weren’t up in the tree going, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, like, what are we going to do about the future?!”
They just sit in the tree for a day, and the snow melted, and they carried on
God is still God, he still provides
He provides what YOU need.
Which is key to worrying less actually.
Did you notice in verse 23 that Jesus said “Life is more than food and the body more than clothes”
When Spring comes, the lilies aren’t freaked out about what they look like.
They don’t care about the spring fashion trends, they wear the same thing every year, and they look great.
Yet, we WORRY about what people will think of our clothes when we pick them out in the morning…we obsess over food or its calories
And the simple solution is just: God will provide what you need.
God will provide.
Do you trust that?
Can you rest in that?
Where aren’t you trusting him to provide what you NEED (that’s the keyword…NEED?
So many of our worries about the future are actually based on our WANTS, not our needs.
Next time you’re worrying ask yourself: “Am I worrying about a WANT or a NEED here?”
And if you want to find some help sorting out your wants from needs…Come on a missions trip with us next year!. To Haiti…to Africa.
It’s my vision that every single person here goes on a Renovation international missions trip, at least once.
To get a perspectives check.
To, at minimum, help you separate your needs from your wants.
To help you worry less.
REASON #2: WORRYING IS WORTHLESS
Okay, the first reason we shouldn’t worry was “GOD WILL PROVIDE”
Let’s take a look at the second one.
Here we have to go back to Jesus’ parenthetical comments in verses 25-26
(Luke 12:25-26) – NIV
25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
In other words, what are you actually going to accomplish by worrying?
In Matthew, Jesus says, “Stop worrying. Tomorrow will worry about itself”
You got enough troubles for today, what are you going to solve by stressing out your mind worrying about the future?
The answer: Nothing.
You’re just going to get yourself more worked up.
Even Bobby McFerrin, who sang “Don’t worry, be Happy” said, “In every life we have some trouble, when you worry, you make it double” J
So what’s the second reason why Jesus tells us we shouldn’t worry? It’s worthless.
You can write that down. Reason #1: God provides.
Reason #2: Worrying is worthless.
It doesn’t accomplish anything.
All it accomplishes is labeling most of us as false prophets.
Ever thought about it that way?
You’re worrying about:
How you’re probably going to get an F on your next paper
How your boss is probably going to fire you
How she’s probably going to reject you
How everyone’s going to tell you how stupid you are
And yet, most of the time…it doesn’t happen that way.
And we’re just false prophets in our own minds…or maybe even to people around us…that we leak out our nervous worries on.
We say, “It’s going to be terrible! Just horrific. Man, it’s going to go badly for me!”
And we spend all of our time freaking out about this horrible future we’ve predicted…that is until it doesn’t even happen.
WORRYING IS WORTHLESS.
Jesus himself tells us
It’s a waste of time.
Hindsight ususally proves this to be true.
For instance, I’m a recovering worry-a-holic.
In preparation for this message, I looked at some old notes I had on worrying that I had written years and years ago.
By the way, I think this is roughly around the now 500th message I’ve ever preached…so that oughta count for…nothing I suppose J
But I was reading how years ago, I was describing how I would often lay awake for 2 hours at night, just thinking…my mind running wild about the next day, the work week, the next message I had to give, the future.
And I thought, “Huh…there’s hope for us all.”
Because most of the time now, I’m asleep within 5 minutes”
God can change you in this.
But I still have my struggles.
Just this month actually…as we put in an offer for this office…I found myself worrying…
Will we get it? What will happen? When will I know? I’m checking my email constantly…WORRYING.
And now, in hindsight…it was a waste of time.
What was I going to change?
No seriously, what was I going to change by worrying?
Were the people deciding going to be magically affected by my waves of worrying??
It’s a WASTE OF TIME.
Next time you start worrying just say to yourself, “I’m totally wasting my own time right now”
For some of you, this is going to be a difficult application.
Worrying is like your baby blanket. You carry it around everywhere. It’s what you DO.
But start calling it out… Just say, “I can’t control this. I can’t affect this by worrying. I’m wasting my time!”
Think of all the time you can get back!
REASON #3: WORRYING IS A SIGN OF UNBELIEF
Let’s take a look at the third reason Jesus says not to worry. This one’s going to sting a bit more
(Luke 12:29-30) – NIV
29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.
Jesus is saying, “Don’t worry about all of these things of the world…food…wearing the right clothes…the worries of life…”
He says, “for the pagan world..”, in other words, the non-believers, the people who don’t know God…run after all such things.
So let’s break this down.
Why is the pagan world obsessed with their People Magazine and the latest fashion and what’s Scarlett Johanson wearing now and why you need to wear it your will look FOOLISH! FOOLISH I TELL YOU!
And why does the worldly person worry about such things?
Why is the “pagan,” as Jesus calls them, so worried about the future?
Because they don’t know that God is in control!
See, and here’s the stingy part…Worrying puts us on the same level of unbelievers.
When we worry….We act is if we don’t believe.
As if we don’t believe God has got everything in control.
As if we don’t trust that God is good and His decisions are wise
If I can just be vulnerable here, one of the things that’s been hard as a parent is now I can worry for someone else.
And if I’m honest, I struggle with this sometimes.
Irrationally struggle even.
“What if one of my kids falls and hits their head, and something horrific happens?”
“What if I’m feeding them Mac & Cheese, and they choke?
What if we get an accident on the way to see Grandma?
And it’s weird because I don’t think of those things with myself as much.
But I’m FEARING…I’m worrying about, what I perceive could be a horrible future…
But I can’t control that. I can’t. I can pretend to…I can create the illusion that I’m in control and have all the right safety precautions, all the right outlet covers, and right car seats (which are all fine), but I can’t control the future. I’m not the one in control of the future.
And at the core, my fear, my worry about the future is simply a sign of unbelief.
That’s reason #3 why we shouldn’t worry: Worrying is a sign of unbelief. A lack of trust in God’s plans, and God’s goodness.
My children are in the Lord’s hands.
A few months ago, I was on the phone with a guy whose baby had come 3 months early…and he was in the car…rushing to the hospital…trying to make it in time for the birth.
And I’ll never forget what he said to me…He said, “We’re praying for God to save him, but we talked about this, if it’s God’s will for him to live or for Him to go to heaven now, then we’ll trust his plan is right”
He knows that worrying isn’t going to do anything.
And besides…GOD IS IN CONTROL
And when you believe God, you don’t have to worry!
See, you’ve got to ask to ask yourself his question…when you worry: “What is it…about God…or His plan…that you aren’t trusting?”
One of my favorite pastors and speakers is a guy by the name of Matt Chandler.
Look him up, listen to his podcast, you’ll probably want to drive to Texas to his church instead of come here.
But 4 years ago, Matt was diagnosed with brain cancer…and not given a lot of time to live…
He’s still alive, his cancer is in remission, but even then, they think he probably has 10 years tops left.
And I’ve been so struck by his teaching and his life.
His position of authority on this is captivating.
Just this past fall, when he had an upcoming scan, he said this in one of his messages, “I have a scan coming up in January. That’s the tomorrow about which I have to say, “I’m not worrying about January. January will be there when I get there in January. My GOD is already in January. He knows what I’m going to find out. I want to be in today”
That’s going to be a recurring theme of this series.
Healthy living lives in today…not the future…not the past.
In other places, Chandler commented that as difficult as this has all been, finally learning that “there’s nothing he can do” has been a massive source of comfort to him.
See, it’s actually freeing to learn you have no control.
Because when you realize you have no control, you don’t have to worry.
Think of it this way:
Life is like a rollercoaster, except most of us live as if we’re DRIVING the rollercoaster,
“OH MY! HERE COMES THAT TURN…I’M NOT GONNA MAKE IT! I’M NOT GONNA MAKE IT…TURN TURN TURN!”
“OH, HOW DID I SURVIVE THAT…BUT HERE COMES A DIP! GET READY!”
But when you realize that God’s driving…you can sit back…and begin to enjoy the ride…begin to be happy.
BE HAPPY: SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM
Jesus gives a few more words about being happy…or as the Bible often says, finding joy
Up until this point, Jesus has just given his three reasons why we shouldn’t worry…told us three things we shouldn’t do. But now he’s going to tell us what TO DO
(Luke 12:31-32) – NIV
31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Our job is not to worry about the future.
Yes, we still plan, prepare, be good stewards.
But ultimately, God controls the future.
Our job…is to seek the Kingdom of God.
What does that mean?
It just simply means: Aim to live your life like God is king.
In everything. EVERYTHING.
So how do we apply that with worrying then?
Paul gives fantastic advice about this in Philippians
(Philippians 4:6-7) – NIV
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So what did he say?
He said, Don’t worry about ANYTHING…but in EVERYTHING, present your requests to God…pray.
THEN…you will find peace.
Then you’ll find peace…happiness.
That phrase in “EVERY situation” is key.
One of the best applications I can give you is start doing this in the little things.
That’s how you prepare for the big things.
So, when you catch yourself…later today…worrying about something…something even small.
And say, “Hey…I’m worrying..…”
“God will provide, I’m wasting my time, I believei n Him”
And then pray about it.
Pray about it
Pray about it, don’t dismay about it.
So acknowledge there’s no point to worrying, & present your requests to God.
Say God, “I’m worrying about the future, that’s going to get me nowhere…but God, would you help me with this?”
“If it’s your will father, help me find a job, fix this relationship God…your will be done”
And do that in the little things…and you’ll be able to trust Him, and put worry aside, even when the big things come.
And I believe that as you let go of the heavy burden of wasted worrying, and start praying to and trusting in your king, you will find that much more happiness in your life.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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