Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on August 17, 2014
Today marks our third and final week on the topic of money. My goal from this short sermon series was to put money in its proper place and God in His. As I stated last week, I believe that we in America have reversed their respective roles. We have used God to serve our love for money instead of using money to serve our love for God. If the self-proclaimed Christians would recognize that money is a gift from God to be used for the glory God, we would start to move some major mountains in this fallen world; even us, tiny little Cornerstone. If you don’t believe me, listen to this text regarding the poor and afflicted Churches in Macedonia.
In light of this goal, today we are going to explore one of the major obstacles that prevents us from giving, fear. Because of the uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring we cling to every last cent that we have. However, today I am not going to limit myself to talking about anxiety as it relates to money only, but anxiety in general. So lets is read our text, pray and turn our eyes to God's Word.
This week there has been a flurry of tweets, posts, blogs and articles written about the death of Robin Williams, with everyone grasping for straws seeking answers and solutions. Many of these people never once thought about what God says about the topic. I don’t believe it is an accident that today we here at Cornerstone arrive at a text that provides the solution. However, before we get there, I want to us to understand something about Jesus.
In verse 34 Jesus says, “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” This understanding of trouble is not a distant understanding. Jesus is acutely aware of the difficulties of life. He knows what it is like to be hungry. He knows what it is like to have enemies. He knows what it is like to have burdens. Why? Because we have a God who came down from his throne and dwelt among us. Listen to Hebrews 4:15-16.
First let us talk about God's will as it relates to anxiety. In our text we see Jesus say three times “do not be anxious”, verse 25, 31, and 34. This word anxious in Greek is merimnaō. It means to be troubled, worried, concerned, to overly dwell upon something. I think we can all agree that all of us have been troubled, worried, or overly concerned about something in our lives. Perhaps as I speak right now you are only half listening because something is weighing heavily on your mind. Perhaps you didn’t sleep very well last night because you were worried about your finances, work, kids, your marriage, school, politics, the economy, insurance, your health, the middle east, etc. The list can go on and on. The bottom line is that we are worriers, and therefore this scripture is extremely relevant to our lives.
In our text Jesus makes it abundantly clear that God’s will for your life is for you not to worry. His desire for you is that you not be anxious about any of those things I just listed. He does not want you to lose sleep over money problems, food problems, and relationship problems. God wants you be free from the slavery of anxiety.
I think this understanding is extremely important for Christians. So many times, Satan convinces us that God doesn’t care about our day to day activities, baloney. God cares. He cares about the nervousness we feel as we drive down the interstate. He cares about the cold sweat we experience when we are interviewing for a job. He cares about the sickness in our gut when we are waiting for the phone call from the doctor. God cares. We need to know and be reminded that the Sovereign God of the Universe is 100% for you. He wants his children to be cured of this condition of anxiety, and this text is proof. So first of all we need to hear loud and clear that God’s will for your life is that you an anxiety free.
Let us now turn to the problem. Why do we feel anxious? Why do we work ourselves up into a frenzy, or become so overwhelmed about things that we can barely get out of bed? The answer is in our text.
No the source of our anxiety is not a world problem, it is a heart problem. We worry because we have “little faith.” Our lack of faith produces the anxiety, the worry, the concern. Our problem is a trust issue. Now when we hear faith, we should never let that word be an end in itself. For faith must have an object. Faith in what? Jesus is referring to faith in God. Now this is important, because many people when they say have faith, they are not saying have faith in God, they are instead saying have faith that everything will work out. This is the health and wealth movement of Joel Olsteen. God never promises a change to your troubles. But he does talk about a changed heart. They are talking about outcomes, not God.
We need to be clear hear, that Jesus is not talking about outcomes, he is talking about God. Our problem is that we do not have faith in the Sovereign God of the Universe. Turn with me to Mark 4:35-41.
This truth is important for us to know. Jesus, who is the Author of Life, has diagnosed our illness as a lack of faith in God. Now that we know the problem, we can figure out the solution. Now we can move forward. Therefore the next time you find yourself being anxious we can pinpoint that the cause is not the situation, but our little faith in God.
So if our little faith is the problem, what is the solution? This is what I love about the Bible, Jesus gives us practical advice that can easily implement in our life. Today we will very quickly touch on five ways to overcome anxiety. The first one is common sense, but important.
1. Worrying doesn't help.
Verse 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” No matter how long you stay up at night and trouble your spirit about your finances, it don't add a second to your earthly existence. God tells us that our days our numbered, and worrying doesn't change that number. You will die when you die. This is so important, we spend so much time worrying as if our worrying has power. It doesn't, so stop. Worrying is one of the most worthless things you can do.
2. God values you.
Verse 26, “Are you not of more value than they?” What an amazing verse. The God of the Universe who needs nothing, finds value in you. You are not some random collection of accidental cells floating through space. You are not a nobody, you are a somebody. God looks down from His Almighty throne and he cares for you. In fact he cares so much for you He sent his Son to die for you. Listen to this verse.
3. Life is more than food and clothing.
Verse 24, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
Why did God create you? It is not to look good. It is not to have a fridge full of processed food. God created you to glorify him. This is why we wake up in the morning. This is why we have jobs. This is why we have families. Everything we do is to glorify you. When we have this mindset, lacking things that are secondary to life start to take on a proper place. No longer do we lose sleep over our budget, for life is not about budgets, it is about God's glory.
4. God knows you and knows your need.
Verse 32, “For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
All of us have made God too small and too distant. We fail to recognize that God is sovereign over all creation. This is a God who is so awesome, that he feeds the birds, and clothes the lilies. He is in complete control over everything. Nothing happens in this life without him doing it. This is what Jesus is proclaiming. This is what Jesus was rebuking the disciples about in the boat. They didn't get that the storm is not outside God's plan, God orchestrated it.
This is also true for your life. God is intimately aware and in control of everything in your life, whether large or small. He is present in your life, and nothing happens to you without his permission. This means that if you lose your job tomorrow, this is not a surprise to God. This means if you get cancer tomorrow, there is a God ordained reason for it.
The truth of God's utter and all powerful control holds so much comfort in times of trouble. When we accept that God is in utter control of all things, we can stop worrying and start worshiping. We can turn to Him and say, I don't get it, but I trust you. And instead of tossing and turning when the storms are raging, we can sleep, just like Jesus did in the back of the boat.
All of these solutions, serve one purpose, to increase our faith in God. We must battle our anxiety with faith in God. The bottom line is that we need to understand that we are not God, but there is a God who holds the Universe in His hands and he knows you and loves you.