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Worship Theme: Focused living values heavenly treasure
Sermon Theme: God’s Got This
Even though worry is something that plagues us all, and even though it’s something that we call normal, in Luke 12:22-34 Jesus talks about it in a different way. We can rejoice knowing that no matter what you might face in life…God’s Got This!
Melissa was a worrier! If there was something bad that could happen, she thought about it – a lot! Melissa worried about driving at night. She encouraged everyone to watch out for deer! She worried about being too aggressive in the stock market. She worried about which foods could cause which sicknesses. She worried about which car to drive and which one would keep her safest in an accident. She worried about the budget. She wore SPF 50 sunscreen whether the sun was shining or not. (If you asked her, she’d tell you – “You can get a sun burn even if it’s cloudy!”) Melissa worried about keeping her job. She worried about when was the right time to retire. She worried about everything. Melissa never took risks. If there was a way to play it safe, that’s the way Melissa played it!
One day Melissa and her husband, Brad, were out hiking in the woods. She had her back pack loaded up - first-aid kit, her rain jacket (in case it started to rain), she had flares in case of an emergency and her bell on her hip to scare any wild animals away. But there was nothing in her pack that could protect her from what lay ahead on the path. It was a pedestrian bridge that was 50 feet long and connected the two points of the path and towered over the valley below. She froze in her tracks when she saw it. Instantly she began to sweat. Her knees began to shake and her voice cracked and quivered: “No way!” she said as she turned to retreat down the path where she came from. But Brad knew that that would be her reaction, so he stopped her, turned her back towards the bridge and said “We’re doing this!” He held her hand and walked her towards the bridge and said “You are going to be fine! Let me tell you why!” “Do you see those steel support cables? Those are rated to hold up 30,000 pounds in weight! Everyone on this trail at once wouldn’t be even a fraction of that weight! And look and see –those cables are well anchored into the rock! This bridge isn’t going anywhere. And neither am I! I’ll hold your hand every step of the way! “You’ve got this!” Brad’s words were enough to bolster Melissa’s confidence. She was still a little sheepish on the first few steps, but she faced her fears, made it to the other side and even managed to have a little fun along the way!
All of us, to one degree or another are like Melissa. To some degree, in some aspect of our lives, we worry! Or maybe we are like Melissa and it’s in a lot of degrees and a lot of aspects in our lives! We fixate on the negative things that might possibly happen. We obsess over the things of this world and the challenges in our lives. We devote our attention to things that are out of our control and focus on things that we shouldn’t. We worry!
But even though worry is something that plagues us all, and even though it’s something that we call normal, Jesus talks about it in a different way. He says to us all: “You of little faith!” That may seem at first glance like an overly harsh assessment, but is it, really? Our God has promised us to give us what we need in this life. King David reminds us in Psalm 145: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing (Psalm 145:15-16). And also, in Psalm 34 he says: The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10).
Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:19, My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. This is what God teaches us. His Word assures us that he will provide for us everything we need and so much more. But we worry! Why? Either those passages are wrong or we are! Either there’s a weakness in them or there’s a weakness in us! And since the Word of the Lord stands forever, I guess it is we who fall! Worry really is a trust issue, isn’t it?!? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
It makes no sense for us to worry about the things that God has already taken care of. It makes no sense for us to doubt concerning the things that God has already promised to give to us!
Worrying can’t do a single good thing for us! But it can do a lot of bad! It wastes time, it negatively impacts our health, it becomes a distraction. Did you know that the word “worry” actually comes from an Old English word that means “to strangle”? And how fitting that picture is. When we become anxious and worry about things in this world, that becomes something that takes a strangle hold on our lives and won’t let go. It can choke out the joy and fulfillment that could otherwise be ours.
But far worse than that is the spiritual impact that worry has in our lives. Worry chokes out faith! When we worry, we are failing to acknowledge that God is in control of our lives and that his promises are true and his will for us is best. Worry is sin and sin puts us in the line of fire – the fire of God’s wrath! Now that is something to be afraid of!
And yet Jesus says to worriers like you and me “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
What undeserved love!! We who deserve punishment have been given a kingdom instead. We who deserve separation have been brought to the right hand of God. We who have everything to fear have been told “Fear Not!” We need not fear, because we have forgiveness in the name of Jesus. We need not fear, because our God loved us enough to rescue us from sin and death. He loved us enough to send us his Son to be our Savior. Jesus loved us enough to stand in our place and to live the life that God demanded of us. He always trusted in God’s plan for him. He clung to promises of God and never doubted, never wavered, never worried. He lived perfectly so that we could be forgiven our failures and sins. Jesus willingly bore the punishment that should have been ours. He was separated from God, and forsaken by him so that that would never be our fate. He died so that we could live with him forever.
And now God promises us grace and every blessing. He repeats to us his assurance that he holds us in his hands and gives us his protection and care. He feeds us better than the ravens. He dresses us in finer clothes than the lilies of the field. He assures us that he will provide for us. Paul reminds us of this truth in Romans chapter 8: 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?
Jesus is the greatest gift we will ever receive, but with him come so many other gifts. God promises us blessings in his Church. We have community and friendships here. We have a Christian family, a place where we belong. We have people we can serve and efforts that we can join. We have a mission that we can support and in which we can participate. We have people who love us encourage us and provide for us in our time of need. Likewise, we can be that person for others – to love, to encourage and to help others in their needs.
Our God blesses us richly with his gifts – supplying our needs and giving us so much more. We can have contentment with what God has chosen to give us. We can have peace in knowing that our God is on our side. We can have joy in knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of our God.
And when the struggles of life begin to pile up…when the burdens grow heavy…when the pains of life in this sin-tattered world grow strong, remember David’s encouragement from Psalm 55: Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken (Psalm 55:22). Take to heart the words that God used to comfort Isaiah: So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (41:10).
Set your hearts on things above. Our God will provide in the way that he knows is best. Do not worry - he is faithful and true to his promises. Do not fear – he is mighty to deliver and strong to save! Who would you rather have guiding and directing your life? Let God lead you to the green pastures of his bountiful mercy and grace! Everlasting life is yours in heaven because of what Jesus has done for you. God promises to guard, guide and lead you until that day that everlasting rest is yours. So put your life in his hands and follow where he leads. Rejoice that you have a place in his family forever. Seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Rejoice that you don’t live life on your own. God is with you. He loves you more than anyone could. He holds you in his protecting hands and is strong when you are weak. Live boldly, confidently, joyfully – because no matter what you might face…God’s Got This! Amen.
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