Worry: slandering God’s character Matt 6:25-34

Introduction (122)

There are many different things that you can worry about:

  • Students and learners passing exams?
  • Are my kids safe when I’m not with them?
  • Will I find a job when I graduate?
  • Will I get cancer and need Chemo?
  • Where will I stay in retirement, do I have enough money?

Read Matt 6:25-34

In this passage Jesus encourages us: don’t worry, trust in your heavenly Father.  If we are children of God we have no good reason to be filled with worry as we go through life.  It is out of order for a child of the Heavenly Father to be unduly worried about situations and events.

Note: we are not making an exaggerated point: there is a right kind of worry in life, a moderate and proper concern even for the matters I mentioned a minute ago: you kid’s safety, your health, saving for retirement – there is a right way to be concerned about these things.  However, and this is Jesus’ point, there is a wrong way to worry that is intensive and disproportionate and excessive and consuming.  They fly in the face of the providence and power of God in our lives.

When we start to worry we get ahead of God and try to take into our control thing which should not or cannot be in our control, and then we dictate to him and don’t let his be Lord from moment to moment.  He is our heavenly father and he knows what is best for his children.

Four reasons worry doesn’t make sense:

Your true life (25)

People start to worry when they have the wrong idea about what life really is.  Life is not about the clothes you wear, or what you eat and drink.  What is life?  Jesus is not scared to ask and answer the big questions!  The Westminster catechism says: the chief end of man (the purpose of life) is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.  There is an integral part of you that is NOT catered to by the things of this world.  It is a crushing burden to bear when you live as if they can!  In Luke Jesus says that a person’s “life does not consist in an abundance of (their) possessions” (Luke 6:14).  You can eat and drink and dress the best and completely miss out on what life really is!

Life is something we live in the flesh but it is also profoundly spiritual.  If you try and secure your life with temporal and earthly things two things will happen: (1) you will find that the do not satisfy; (2) you will worry why the solution that the magazines and movies and adverts tell you will work, is not working for you.  You will tend to look for more and different.

The life that God has given us is both physical and spiritual but focus on the physical part alone makes us worry.  You are liberated from worry when you focus on the food that he gives to the soul; the robes of righteousness he lavishly dresses us in

 Your true value (26)

Jesus makes an argument from lesser to great based on nature: it is not that birds are not beautiful or valuable (except for hadadas), but they don’t compare to human beings: the pinnacle of his creation, made in his very image, with his breath is in us.  And look at how easily and freely he provides for the birds – how much more will he make sure provide for us, who are of so much greater value.

You take great care of that which you greatly value.  God values you.  God loves you.  You are his precious child.  Your worth FAR exceeds anything else in creation.   In the end worry is a slander on God’s character when we worry.  God does this amazing thing (provide food) for something of relative low worth (birds); for something of far greater worth (human beings) will he not do the same and even much more!  Our Father has given us life and he values and he promises to takes good care of us.  So, stop worrying.

Your true ability (27, 34)

The translators are not sure on the right translation here, it depends on the version you are reading as to whether it says, “add a single hour to his life” or “add a single cubit to his height”.  It doesn’t really matter which one it is – the point: you do not really have control over your height or the length of your life.  And that is the same point that he reiterates in the last verse of our passage (Read 6:34).  You don’t have control of what is going to happen tomorrow.  You can worry about all kinds of things and ALL that worrying will be in vain.  And even IF your worst fear comes true – God will be in the midst of it all guiding and providing and it will all work out according to his good and perfect plan.

Worry is over ambitious!  When you worry, you have forgotten who you are.  You see, on the one hand God lifts you up and say, “you are of such great value, the pinnacle of creation”; but in the next verse he says, “at the same time you are only human – don’t over estimate yourself in your own eyes”.  Our faith is in God’s unlimited ability not our limited ability.

Your (faltering) faith (28-30)

Again, he makes an argument from lesser to greater based on nature.  God has made the flowers beautiful.  And he is not talking about Kirstenbosch here – this is the West Coast in spring, and by the time summer arrives the flowers are dead and gone.  So, if God does all this for flowers that appear for such a short time, how much more will he look after your bodily needs.  The problem is that our culture is absorbed in finding our sense of value and worth in the things that we wear, in where they were bought, in the price tag, and in the label.

“O you of little faith” is a reprimand.  Every time this phrase is used it is of the disciples who are not believing in what God will do for them, in who God is.  Is that not the story of our Christian lives: we are overcome by worldly and earthly concerns; it affects our emotional stability and relationships; our hearts are heavy; our health suffers; we fret; we are paralyzed.  If we would just believe God for who he is, we would find the peace and joy and rest that is in Him alone.

We have this unshakable testimony of God’s past grace in our lives (he has bought us to this point), but we struggle to trust him for future grace – as if he is going to change on us.  “Faith in future grace is the source of radical risk-taking Kingdom obedience”[1].  Whatever lies before us we know that he will be with us and in us in the same way that he has been in the past.

Romans 8 to the gospel
Paul gives what is probably the best support for this passage outside of the Gospels in Romans 8.  When Paul wants to plant new believers on an unshakable rock, when he wants to steady the faith of those who are feeling shaken he points to the cross.

Romans 8:31-35 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

In this life there are going to be 101 things that are going to happen that are going to make you want to doubt.   Hardship and trouble are coming your way – Christianity is not a golden ticket out of REAL life.  It is not a forcefield that bounces off every adversity.  The thing that makes THE difference is knowing that NONE of those things separate us from the unquenchable love of our Saviour who laid down, gave up, whose very life blood pour out of his broken body to redeem and cleanse us.

Paul is saying: dude, what else does God have to do to assure you of his love?  He gave His Son to make you his child.

Christian: do not worry:

So Jesus says: Read 6:31-32.  The point is that if we are consumed by worry we are living in a way that is practically and spiritually no different from pagans – those who as those who do not know or believe in God.

There are no sweeter words in this passage than: “Your heavenly Father knows…”.  Who else do you want to be aware of your needs?

Conclusion: Kingdom and righteousness

When we faithfully place our lives in his hands, when we seek to glorify God and enrich his kingdom, when you live strive to


Sermon Questions

Please use / augment / discard these questions so that your group has a fruitful discussion

  1. Without going overboard, make a list of the things that worry you in your life
  2. Is there a “right” way to worry?  If so, what is it?
  3. Jesus gives us several reasons that we should not be consumed by worry.  What are they and how do they apply to your life?
  4. How much of our Christianity is like “the pagans”?  What does this indicate about our Christianity?
  5. What do you think Jesus means when he says, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”?
    1. What does the promise attached to this statement mean?
  6. How does Romans 8:31-35 help us understand this passage better?
  7. Read Phil 4:6-7.  Close your time in prayer by putting this verse into practice.  [It would most probably be best to break into groups of 2/3, share prayer requests and pray for each other.]

[1] John Piper