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Worry, or Trust? August 10, 2010

Posted by sandhandrews in Sermons.

Luke 12:22-34

Proper 14

August 8, 2010

Goal:  That the hearers more faithfully trust in God for all their needs.


Life is busy.  There are countless things going on in our lives everyday.  Some are good, some bad, but it’s constant.  It feels as though our brain is never at rest.  Do we have enough money to pay all the bills this month?  What happens if I get laid off at work?  Is this just another fight, or are mom and dad really mad at each other this time?  Life is changing so fast, can I keep up with it all?  How am I going to get everything done on time?! Endless worries quickly come to mind.  “Where do I turn?”

Jesus had an idea:  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on…Instead, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”  That sounds nice, but the world we live in tells us that just isn’t the answer.

As adults, we know we have to work if we want to keep our homes and feed our families.  The head of the family knows that he has to “bring home the bacon” and support the kids.  That’s getting tougher in this economy.  It seems impossible to wake up in the morning and be assured that you will still have your job.  Bosses often put you through job evaluations and review your performance.  Family, friends, and coworkers will all tell you that instead of worrying you should just crank it up a notch, work a little harder.  Do some extra tasks without asking for anything in return.  Your boss’ll notice, and you’ll keep your job.  You have to take charge of your worry.

Health is another area that the world claims to know everything.  They know how to fix all your ills.  The last time you were sick with a cold, what did you do?  Perhaps you went straight to the medicine cabinet, or maybe a loved one had to make you take something.  You took the pills regardless.  That’s all you need; now you’re all better.

We’re constantly bombarded with ads related to health and fitness.  New drugs that will treat your sleeplessness better than the one you’re taking now.  A new vitamin that will help get your body back on track.  Oh, and endless dieting plans and workouts.  Rather than worrying about your health, trust in science and knowledge and you can get yourself back to health.

Then there’s relationships.  If you’re dating, and something goes wrong, the common response from a parent is usually “don’t worry, there’s plenty of fish in the sea, honey.”  And today, the idea isn’t too far off in marriage.  Always fighting?  Got issues?  Get a divorce.  Everyone else is and they seem alright.  Think about yourself and find someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

We live in a society that stresses independence.  We take care of ourselves.  And, if you can’t figure something out, there are millions of how-to books and hotlines.  And then there’s the internet.  We have endless resources at our fingertips to figure it out on our own.  We don’t need help.  That’s how the world responds to worrying.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard, take your medicine and go to the doctor.  Nor am I saying you shouldn’t exercise and eat healthy.  Those are all good things.  Divorce is a different story, it is a bad thing.  But in all of these cases, the world tells you to fend for yourself.

But what about when these things don’t work?  Surely you’ve noticed.  Working harder doesn’t always save your job.  Illnesses don’t always go away; in fact, death taunts us all.  And bouncing from one relationship to the next just leaves people hurting.  Most of our worries just lead to more stress, and more worries.

People just don’t have a good answer.  Did you notice in those examples what was missing?  God.  There was no trust or even prayer.  The world leaves God out of the picture and focuses us on ourselves.  Jesus calls us out of it.  He tells us, commands us, not to be anxious.  But He doesn’t just give us a command; He also gives us the answer.  He brings us back to the One whom we can trust to take care of us; He brings us back to the Father.

God created us.  He created the entire universe with all its wonder.  Plants and animals, stars and light, He created it all.  Jesus pointed to His Father’s great care in providing for all that He made.  How He feeds the ravens, and nourishes the grass and makes it beautiful.

We’re nearing the end of summer and many of us look forward to the beauty of fall.  Picture it in your mind.  The sun is shining, the grass still green, the rustle of the leaves in the breeze.  The leaves on the trees put on a magnificent display of colors, red, yellow, orange, brown, and green; you could just sit there and stare all day.  Just as God created you, He also made this beautiful picture.  And He uses the colder months of the year to let the earth be restored and nourished, so when spring comes, all the plants can come back to life again.

This is where Jesus points to Solomon, to us.  Solomon was one of the richest and most righteous of all God’s people in the Old Testament.  He inherited the throne from his father David.  When God offered Solomon anything he desired, Solomon asked for the wisdom to rule God’s people.  God was pleased with that answer and gave him all the wisdom of man.  But, He also said, “I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.”  This is why Jesus mentions that Solomon, in all his glory, was not able to clothe himself like the lilies.  God did it, not Solomon.

When we see God as the Creator, and look at how He has provided for His creation, we can replace our worrying with trusting in Him.  We can trust in Him to care for us as He cares for His creation.

Noah is a perfect example.  He had his own worries.  The people around him, all over the earth, had given up on God.  They didn’t think they needed Him.  Noah could have joined them, but he didn’t; he kept his faith and found favor in God’s eyes.  And then God told him something crazy.  “I have determined to make an end of all flesh…Make yourself an ark of gopher wood…For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”

Would you have listened?  This is crazy talk, God wanting to wipe out all the people of the earth.  That’s not going to happen!  But, Noah listened.  He trusted God and did as God told him to do.  Sure enough, the flood came after Noah had built that ark, and he and his family lived.  God provided a way out for the faithful.

So we too replace worry with trust when we pray the Lord’s Prayer.  What is it that you’re praying for?  Have you ever stopped to think about each petition?  “Give us this day our daily bread.”  We pray that God would provide for us, as He has promised to do.  In the Small Catechism, Luther explains ‘daily bread’ as “everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.”  That is a long way of saying: everything.  God takes care of the needs of His creation.  He provides for you.

But God didn’t stop there.  He doesn’t limit His provisions for you to this body and life.  God has also provided for you spiritually.  He knew of your sins and the death that follows them.  He knew that despite His created gifts of hard work, medicine, exercise, and nutrition, we would still end up in the grave.  He knew that without intervention, you would perish and suffer forever.  He intervened.

God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world as a provision for His creation.  Jesus knew the Father’s will.  That didn’t make the trials ahead any easier for Him.  He knew that persecution, torture, and the cross were in His future.  At theGardenofGethsemane, Jesus prayed to His Father.  Rather than praying for something else to happen, for Him to be spared, or whatever He may have wanted, Jesus prayed, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”  Jesus trusted that the Father’s will was right, and that He knew what He was doing.

On account of Jesus’ death, your sins are forgiven.  And by His resurrection, so too you will rise again.  God the Father is not some distant and unloving god.  He is your Father and He loves you deeply.  He knows your every need, be it of body or soul, and He provides.  When you pray to Him, He will hear you, and He will answer you.  When you trust in Him and seek Him and His kingdom, He will provide for all your needs.

So, does this mean that we aren’t responsible, or that we don’t have to do anything?  God just puts everything into our laps, right?  Not exactly.  God created us and we are His creatures, His children.  He gave us eyes to see, ears to hear, legs to walk, and hands to touch.  God has enabled us.  He uses us as a means of providing for each other’s worries, just as He provides for us forgiveness through the absolution you heard this morning from Pastor and through the Lord’s Supper which you will eat shortly.

We are a community of believers and Jesus has instructed us to love one another.  When the congregation makes a donation to the seminary’s Food Bank, that is the community caring for each other.  When people give of their own time to talk to one another and encourage each other, that is God caring for His people through the community.  That’s why we’re a family.  When we see someone in need, we help them; better yet, God helps them through us.

Instead of worrying and being concerned all of the time, we are to trust in God.  And part of trusting God is doing what He has given us to do.  God has given us each roles, and we all have more than one.  Dads, take care of your children.  Love them, and give them the encouragement they need to become mature Christians.  If you’re a sister, love your siblings.  In the workplace, do the work that you have to do.  If you’re a waiter, serve your customers to the best of your ability.  If you teach, teach will all your being.  These may seem like simple tasks, menial even.  But, these are ways which God provides for His people, for us.  When we serve one another and fulfill the duties God has given us, we are His provision for His people in dealing with the worries of life.

Not only when life gets rough, but everyday, we trust in God for all that we need.  He created us, and He keeps us going.  As Luther said, “He daily and richly provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.”  Not only this life, but also everlasting life on account of the forgiveness we have in Christ.  You are taken care of.  Just trust in God and His promises and provisions, for you have nothing left to worry about.

Steve Andrews



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