Worried about being busy Matt 6 25-33
I have a video of what it looks like to be engrossed in worry! (Canadian police chase) What do you think? Let’s play it again in case you missed the subtle message.
What is happening? Yes, the robbers know what they want and are determined to get it no matter the conditions and no matter how futile their efforts. They are to outrun the police and avoid capture at all costs. The police on the other hand, also know they want and are determined to fulfil their responsibilities. They are to capture the robbers at all costs. And that is what they are doing.
However, what is all their worry and effort achieving? Yes, nothing! Both the robbers and police are very busy in their jobs, know their roles, know what they have to achieve, but they are in fact achieving very little. The robbers are so concerned about getting away, so worried about doing it as they always have, with a car chase, they cannot see the bigger picture; they cannot see that their situation is hopeless. The police, what do they do? They are no better than the robbers, they are so caught up in the busyness of the chase, so caught up in worrying about the capture they just exasperate the situation.
Close up, just looking at the cars and the robbers trying to avoid capture, it seems pretty normal; something you would expect of a police chase. But notice as the camera angle moves away from the close action and into the aerial view from the helicopter, what then? (play again) What does the wider picture reveal? Yes, no matter how hard they try, as long as they only worry about the problem in front of them…being stuck in the snow, the robbers are never going to get away and the police are never going to catch the robbers.
Are you the robbers or the police? Is your life like the robbers? Always worrying about trying desperately to keep ahead in life, trying to outrun the busyness of the day; outrun the changes forced upon you by work or family commitments. Perhaps are you like the police, always worried and focused on the job in front of you and never being able to catch up with the busyness of your day? You seem to be forever running behind. Forever chasing dreams, visions and hopes that are set before you, but only to find you never get where you want to be.
All of us are either robbers or police. All of us are either running from or chasing after something in our life. Some of us are always worried about trying to escape the pressures and stresses of life, while others of us are always worried about chasing fading dreams and hopes of a more relaxed life. Yet how many of us achieve it? How many of us, by our own efforts, achieve a blissful life without worry? Do the rich, with the wealth to buy everything they want? Do they poor, with no money or possessions to worry about? Have you with all your worries and fears about escaping or chasing?
Jesus calls us to get into the helicopter of his word and rise above our escaping or chasing to gain a view of the bigger picture. He encourages us to call off the pursuit and take a look at what is really going on; to take our focus off the job before us. He says ‘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 important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Jesus sees our life like that helicopter shot of the police chase. He can see we are doing a lot of worrying and running around after what we think is important for a good life, but in the end, from the vantage point of heaven, all we gain out of our striving and worry is more of the same.
Again Jesus says ‘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.’ Like police after robbers, we shop until we drop chasing the dream of a peaceful and worriless life, yet it always eludes us. Interestingly, John Carrol, in his new book ‘Ego and Soul, the modern West in search of meaning’, writes ‘It is through shopping…you can believe you control your own destiny, make yourself whomever you want to be, and therefore transform your life…like Clarke Kent changes into Superman.’
Jesus is not saying ‘don’t worry about chasing after those things’, because it is wrong. He is not saying to worry is wrong, or to run from change and stress is wrong, or that chasing after a peaceful life is wrong or shopping is wrong…being superman or Wonder woman for a day is always good for the ego. No, the key that unlocks freedom from the grind of everyday worry is to begin the day with God. ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ In him, in God and from God, comes our righteousness. God himself gives us meaning, value and purpose for living. Listen closely to Jesus words ‘seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness.
St Paul in Romans clearly emphasises Jesus message ‘For in the good news of Jesus death and resurrection a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is given to us by faith totally and completely, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Righteousness before God, being friends with God, because of Jesus death on the cross, gives purpose and meaning to our running our chasing. How? It gives us a vision of the bigger picture. Being worth something before God, or in biblical terms, righteous before God, knowing he loves us and wants the best for our life, enables us to get into the helicopter and be lifted up to get a view of our life from a perspective of heaven.
Have a look at everything God has provided for us. When we bring just a minute fraction together, we begin to see how much he does provide for us. Have a look at the sacrament of Holy Communion, God’s righteousness given freely today. We can see and taste how much he loves us. Knowing this lifts us up to see beyond our chasing and running to see what lay ahead…eternity with God.
This week, stop yourself in the middle of what you are doing, just when you are feeling frustrated or worthless or angry, running or chasing. Stop at that point when, like the robbers or police, you are in the midst of a hopeless situation, and by faith step back to get a heavenly perspective on life. We can do this by remembering Jesus words ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’. We are children of God so we have the privilege of looking at life from the vantage point of heaven. When we do, we can see God’s love for us in all his gifts to us. From there we can perhaps see a new way of doing things. We can see how we might change our attitude and see how the bog we find ourselves in, like the police in the snow, may actually be what God is using to assist us in completing the task before us.
This is what Jesus meant when he said ‘do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?’ For the life that is more important, is the life of righteousness given to us free by the gift of God.