Stop Worrying about Tomorrow

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

“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. (Matt. 6:24-34)

This week, this particular passage of the Bible has really stood out to me. I have read it many times before, but this week I was able to understand it in a fresh way. First of all, I have always separated verse 24 from the rest of the passage. Most Bibles break it up. It seems like “no one can serve two masters” is an idea that is disjointed from the rest of the section on worry and anxiety. However, that tiny word “therefore” lets us know that these two ideas are attached. Most of us would probably say that we don’t serve money. However, if we are honest most of us probably worry about our finances from time to time, or perhaps more than from time to time. We invest time and energy into worrying about material things and resources. We worry about our families. We might worry about school or our jobs. We may worry about our relationships or worry about other people. We might be worried about the future. The thing we often don’t realize is that we become a servant to whatever we are worried about. We allow that thing to consume us and we become its slaves. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve God and feed our fears at the same time. We cannot expect to move forward in the plans that God has for us, while we are allowing ourselves to be Fear’s whipping boy. Recently, I listened to a motivational speech by Les Brown, in which he said, “It is okay to have fears, but it is not okay to let fear have you.” I think that is the key. Too many of us have allowed fear to have us.

As Christians, we always talk about how God provides for all of our needs. Do we really believe it? If we really do believe it, why do we worry so much? I am personally challenged by this. God wants us to know that he has plans for us and purposes for us that extend far beyond the trivial things we worry ourselves with on a day to day basis. His purpose for you goes far beyond that problem that weighs on you. His plans for you are far greater than your dilemma. His promises can’t be deterred by the bumps in the road along the way. God not only knows where we are at, He knows where we are going. He is the only one who knows how to get us there and He is the one that provides for the journey.

In verse 33, God tells us the one thing that he wants us to be focused on: “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Many of us recite this verse, but we are still focused on “all these things” and have missed “Seek first…” Are we seeking him first above all else? Are we allowing him to be our one and only master? Are we consumed with Him only? God wants us to experience the fullness of this adventure with Him. He wants us to experience the thrill of each moment without carrying around the heavy burden of worry. He wants us to experience His joy on the mountaintops and His comfort through the valleys low. He wants us to seek him first, knowing that He’s got everything else covered.

Let’s stop worrying about tomorrow at the expense of missing out on the fullness of today.

On Storm Clouds and Rainbows

For the past couple of days, I have been practicing the art of silence before God. At the weekly small group Bible study I attend, we briefly discussed how important it is that we not only talk to God, but that we also make space in our prayer time to listen to him. Although I have heard this before and even taught this to others, it is not something I am always making an effort to do. But for the past couple of mornings, I have been making space for this. God has been speaking.

Yesterday, as I sat before God, a sudden memory hit me out of the blue. A couple of months ago, somebody had told me that I can’t walk around with a storm cloud over my head. They told me this because they were close enough to me to recognize that I have the tendency to guard myself, anticipating a future day up ahead when things might go wrong and I might get hurt. They even told me that sometimes we can create the very thing that we are afraid of by allowing fear to get the best of us. At times I do ask myself, what good thing am I shutting out of my life because I am too fearful to enjoy the moment?

I realize that dreaming has been a difficult thing for me to do. I started this year in a place of dreaming and hit some road bumps. When the road bumps came, the dreaming stopped. As I sat before the Lord, in my prayer time, I began to vent my frustrations to God. “Lord, I started off this year praying and standing in faith.” Before I could continue, I heard God say to me, “And then you stopped and reverted back into the place of fear.” I was speechless for a moment because I recognized it as truth. I realize that this has been a roadblock in my life. There have been several times in my life when I have stopped dreaming, as soon as I have hit some resistance. I have thrown in the towel on my capacity to believe in my dreams, as soon as I have encountered pain, delay and setbacks. In fact, I am ashamed to admit that many times I have bought the lie that it is better not to dream. If you don’t dream too big, than you can never be too disappointed. I put a spiritual spin on it and have preached to others that I am practicing the art of contentment. Being happy in the present moment with where I am at and what I have. Although contentment and living in the moment are important, what I wasn’t being honest with myself or others about was the fact that I had inwardly given up on my belief that the dream would ever come to pass. I thought that somehow I hadn’t been given permission to dream and that doing so was selfish. God is teaching me that this is simply not the case.

Right now, in my life, I feel like God is inviting me into the adventure of dreaming with Him once more. God is showing me that at times, I have put up walls that I thought were for other people that were essentially blocking him out as well. God revealed to me that somewhere deep in there, I have believed that if I dream too big that he would disappoint me and be insensitive with my heart. Now, I realize that is a heavy thing to say, but in the spirit of transparency, I felt this was an important message to share because I know there is someone out there who is struggling with this as well. There is someone out there who has been crushed by life circumstances and has almost given up hope. There is someone out there who has convinced themselves that their dreams will never come true and it would be better not to have dreamt at all. I believe that God is inviting you into the process of dreaming with Him once more. Let your guard down. Let Him in.

God showed me something about walking around with a storm cloud over your head. Although we can be certain that this life will bring us trouble and hard times, we can’t live in expectation of the storms. We have to anticipate the rainbow. With every storm, God brings the reassurance of his rainbow of promise. If we can live out our daily lives, anticipating the rainbow that each storm brings, I believe that we will able to dance in the puddles, instead of drowning in the rain. The storms we go through in life don’t negate God’s promises to us, just like natural storms don’t negate the presence of the rainbow. In fact, we would never experience the beauty of a rainbow, if we never walked through the difficulty of a storm.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)

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