Do Not Worry – Devotional, Matthew 6:19-34

Do not Worry, A Choice to be Made

Matthew 6:19-34 KJV – 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

The Choice Empowers the Command of Do not Worry

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Do Not Worry

Do not worry. To be able to do this, I must decide where my treasure will be. If I want to hold onto treasure here, then I cannot have the peace contained in ‘ do not worry.’ A reminder of what is necessary is in verse 33 to ‘ seek first his kingdom. By filling up my life with living for him in day tight compartments I can be free of trivial concerns and fulfill his command of ‘ do not worry.’

A Section from Food in God’s Place about this Issue (no longer in publication, to be republished in future)

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own or better in another translation: give no thought to tomorrow.”

“A good passage for meditation. Treat it as a commandment; as when your worry, you are not trusting me. Where does that passage appear?”

“I don’t remember exactly.”

“Consider context. Choice of who you will serve or where your treasure will be precedes ‘do not worry.’ That is preceded by the discussion on fasting which is preceded by prayer. Consider the sequence. Prayer + fasting + choosing God only (or trusting him or embracing dependence on him) = freedom from worry. Without the sequence, there is no freedom from worry. It is a formula for increasing dependence on me. Many try to serve me or try to stop worrying but still continue to think about possessions, money, clothes, food, and more. They don’t fully depend on me or trust me and therefore don’t experience my peace.”

“Guilty.”

“Now what do you do?”

“I confess I’ve tried to stop worrying without full dependence on you. I confess I’ve tried to maintain control or tried to figure out the details or understand the how without fully letting go.”

Anna ultimately learns to depend on Jesus and control her worry.

A Contrast of Values

Luke 16:14-15 closes this section in Luke and the latter part of verse 15 sums up the inverse contrasting attitude God has toward man’s love of money when Jesus says to the Pharisees, ‘ What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.’

Things that I value highly when viewed by the eternal God who sees me and the earth across time appear only as dust to him. I may see a valuable Mercedes or boat. In contrast, he sees it across 10,000 years. Across time, it starts as iron ore and petroleum (the waste of rotted creatures) and ends as rust and dust. The toys are just dust. Clearly, God doesn’t want me to worship dust.

If I worship dust, I cannot be free of worry.

Do not worry means to think about pleasing God, filling up my life with gratitude, his word, prayer, seeking obedience in circumstance, seeking ways to serve, seeking ways to give.

Questions to Ponder

  1. When I hear ‘ do not worry,’ can I simply stop worrying? Why?
  2. The KJV says, “Give no thought to tomorrow.” Is this a better passage for how I think about worry?
  3. What do I usually worry about?
  4. In my observation and experience who worries more, those who have many possessions or those who have few?
  5. Next time I want something, try to see it as God does across time. What lasting value does it bring me?
  6. Often my desire for a thing comes about because I want an experience: respect, status, recognition, etc. How can I obtain these experiences without material possessions?
  7. If I believe I have the love and respect of the eternal God, what else do I need? Are these things promised to me?
  8. If I were to consistently obey ‘ do not worry,’ how would this impact my neighborhood, church, and business?
  9. Write down 50 things and blessings I am thankful for in life. Write a list of things I want. Which of my blessings would I trade for what I want?

Passage for Meditation

What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. Luke 16:15b

Prayer
Forgive me for holding onto material things and desiring wealth. God help me to depend upon you only, to rely upon you for my daily bread. Help me to be alert to unhealthy desires to accumulate wealth. Enable me to see and  share with those in need. Help me to be busy in my relationship with you and to trust you to provide for my needs. Help me to remember that if I will fulfill your command of ‘ do not worry,’ that this will offer a great testimony to those around me.

Originally published August 6, 2013

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