Some worry about the stock market. Two weeks ago stocks plummeted giving rise to fears of another recession and wide-spread layoffs. Radio Shack announced it was bankrupt and Target laid off 1,700 at its headquarters in Minneapolis. A week later the market rebounded. Who knows what the report will be by the time you read this column?
Students worry about tests, assignments and grades. Recent graduates worry about looming student loans. Parents worry about making ends meet, raising their children and sending their kids to college.
Terrorism stalks the news. Al Qaeda has morphed into ISIS which has gone global recruiting teens and young adults from Europe and Australia. The Boston bombing trial for Dzokhar Tsanaev is in full swing. Family members worry about sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, who live in a violent world.
Some worry about their health. Many are dealing with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, injuries and the ravages of old age. Some worry about family members and friends who have become addicted to alcohol and drugs.
The list goes on. There are lots of things to worry about. Some big. Some small.
Worry can be a good thing. Like physical pain, worry can serve as a signal that we need to take action for ourselves and the welfare of others. But worry can also debilitate. All of us experience circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, worry can rob us of sleep, steal our energy and cripple our creativity. According to WebMD “Chronic worrying affects your daily life so much that it interferes with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance.”
Jesus clearly wanted us to live our lives free from debilitating worry.
Jesus said, “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 than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor 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—you of little faith? 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. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34).