Should I Be Worried? - Matthew 6:25-34 - Skip Heitzig
We want to welcome you to our midweek service, done a little bit differently than what you're used to, than what we're used to. We're not used to doing that. But welcome from our home, so to speak, to your home, from our watch party to your watch party. And you know, this could be the new normal for a while.
I had a pastor, Chuck Smith, who used to say, "Blessed are the flexible. They shall not be broken." So this is the time for us to be flexible. And that's what we're doing. We're coming according to what the laws of the land lately are dictating in terms of preventing this virus. So thank you for joining us.
We do pray God's best blessing upon you during this time. And honestly, I'm excited to see what the Lord's going to do in purifying the church through this. And when it's all said and done, guess what? We're going to have a big welcome home party here and just celebrate this thing like crazy, right?
So I have my family here. My wife, Lenya's, here, Nate and Janae, my son and daughter-in-law, and some of our friends and part of the worship community. So we're glad to be joining you. If you have a Bible, I'm going to invite you to turn to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, and we're going to look at some familiar verses that Jesus spoke on the Sermon on the Mount. Then, afterwards, I'm going to interview some co-workers here to kind of give you information on what you can expect in days ahead and also what we can do for you in days ahead and how we can partner together.
Well, we're living in some pretty crazy times. I was on a call yesterday with the White House, about 20 of us faith leaders. And they were asking-- the president I was asking for a 15-day kind of a lockdown, kind of a quarantine. 15 days where we're going to individuate like this and then take it day by day and week by week. But I think it's safe to say, this is unprecedented. We've never experienced something quite like this.
I think that large swaths of the world's population is living in fear and panic, because they don't know what's going to happen. And it seems to be growing, that panic and fear, day by day. We don't want to be a part of the panic. We want to be a part of the prayer and the praise and the preparation. But we're not to be given to fear. We're to act cautiously and soberly and all that, but we're to also live in faith.
I was reading something on from Science Alert that said as coronavirus proliferates on a global scale, worry and panic are on the rise. Everybody's noticing that. USA Today newspaper said, "The coronavirus has the world on edge, and as the number of confirmed cases of illness grows, so too the nation's collective uncertainty." So it's a fluid situation. It is a day by day. Bet you've never listened to the news or watched it as much as you are recently.
We kind of want to know, what's the new news? What do I have to do? What's going on? Psychologists and public health experts say public anxiety is high, and it's largely fueled by a sense of powerlessness. I want you to think about that. You can't control this. I can't control this. Nobody in the world right now is able to control this. Only God can. We are really at His mercy.
So we find ourself in a very humbling situation, where we are looking to God. And I hope the world looks to God during this time. We need to be praying for medical professionals, those who are on the front lines of this battle. They're dealing with patients who not only have the disease, but are extremely anxious. And they have to deal with that on a daily basis.
So the question is, that I want to ask you, ask all of us-- should I be worried? That's what I'm calling this message. Should I be worried? Of course we should be vigilant. Of course we should be careful and all those things. But should I be worried? We should be loving, so this disease doesn't spread. But should I be worried?
Did you know the term "worry"-- it's an English word. Our word worry comes from a German word, wyrgan. We get our word worry from wyrgan, which means to choke or to strain. So the idea is something that sort of just chokes you out emotionally, is the idea of worry.
But you know, Jesus talked about the seed that was choked by the worries of this world. Think about having a backpack. You put a little day pack on, and it's empty at the beginning of the day. But every person you bump into or every tweet you read or every news flash you get, you put a stone in. At first, no big deal. But by the end of the day, it's going to break your back.
That's why the Bible says, casts all your cares upon Him, because He cares for us. So every time you get that tweet, every time you hear that news update, immediately cast that to the Lord in prayer.
Now, in contrast, to all the people freaking out all around us, I want you to listen to what Jesus said. This is His promise to you. Matthew chapter 6, in verse 25, "Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, what you will drink, or about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns. Yet, your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. And yet, I say to you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. So now, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Therefore, do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear? For after all these things, the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own trouble."
Now, I've broken this down into three simple directives. The rule-- that is the command that Jesus gives. He three times in this little paragraph, so that's the rule. Second, the reason for the rule-- why? Why aren't we to worry? And then, finally, what do we do instead, the recourse? So the rule, the reasons, and the recourse.
First of all, the rule-- three times in this paragraph, Jesus says, don't worry. Verse 25, "Therefore, I say to you, do not worry." Verse 31, "Therefore, do not worry." Verse 34, "Therefore, do not worry." And the way that can be translated is stop an action that is already ongoing.
So think of it this way. If you're not worried, don't start worrying. If you are worrying, stop it. You need to rein that in. You need to think differently than you're thinking now. In fact, the Amplified Bible puts it this way-- "Stop being perpetually uneasy. That is, anxious and worried about your life."
This year has been an interesting year for me. A few weeks ago, I was on a gurney in an emergency room facing a second brain surgery. I had elective back surgery at the end of last year, something I knew I needed to get done. Got it done, not knowing there was an ongoing condition, blood collecting in my brain. That's a subdural hematoma.
Got that drained. Thought I was good to go. Thought I was healed. Now I find myself lying on a gurney in a emergency room facing a second surgery. And I'm thinking, I thought I was over this. I thought this was healed. And then I thought, you mean these things can come back?
So now I'm getting worried. I'm getting perpetually uneasy, as the tech says, not to do. And I started thinking through what this could mean in the future. I thought of all the implications. I thought of the seizures that they say will come next after lethargy, which I was already experiencing, and possible death. And you start thinking every imaginable scenario that's not good.
And I said to my wife, Lenya, I said, I have a bad feeling about this. And she immediately quoted Philippians, which says, "Whatever things are pure, lovely, honest, of good report, praiseworthy, think on these things." And just reeled me back in to where I needed to be. And I think we need to do that.
So right then and there, on that gurney, I had a decision to make. I was wrestling my emotions. And I could go one way or I could go the other way. And I realized I don't know my future. I only know the one who knows my future and who controls my future. So in wrestling with that, I decided to make the emergency room, instead of a place of worry, a place of worship. And turning my worry into praise to God, because He has my future in his hands.
Now, Jesus says, don't worry about what you're going to eat, what you're going to drink, what you're going to wear. Honestly, though we know these verses, they don't make much sense to us in the West. Most of us, maybe up until recently, have never worried about what we're going to eat, never worried about what we're going to drink. The only thing we worry about-- not even worry about, wonder about-- is what we want to eat.
You want Mexican tonight? Do you want Italian? I mean, we start having discussions, husband or wife, of what we feel like eating. We'd never worry about what we're going to wear. We worry about, does this look good today on me? Because I have a lot of options in the closet if this outfit doesn't look good, right? So we deal with it differently.
In those days, Jesus was speaking to a group that this was a daily wrestling match. They were preoccupied, literally, with will they get another meal. Will they get to wear something else? Because usually, people just had what was on their back. So when Jesus spoke these words, he wasn't speaking to a Western culture facing just the issues we're facing. He was facing people who were dealing with survival on a daily basis.
And yet, he says to them, don't worry. So that's the command. That's the rule. But here's the big question-- why not? I mean, are there any reasons for me not to get worried? And Jesus give some pretty good reasons.
Here's what I love about the Bible. It's reasonable. You know, God didn't just toss out a command and say, hey, stop doing that. He says, let me tell you why it's unreasonable to stop doing that. That's why Isaiah says, "Come, let us reason together, says the Lord." And God always is practical, always giving us practical stuff.
So here's three reasons not to worry-- because of your master, because of your father, and because of your future. And you who are gathered together and listening, I want you to hear these words. You have a master, you have a father, and He promises you a future.
So, first of all, because he's your master. Unfortunately, when we read the Bible, we often sort jump into the paragraph without really noticing context, what's before it, what's after it. And so we kind of just jump in with Matthew 6:25. "Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life." And we just start there.
But you'll notice the first word in the sentence is "therefore." And you know the rule, whenever there's a therefore, you find out what it's there for. And it's always pointing back to a different thought. So listen to the whole chapter. In the whole chapter, Jesus is telling his disciples to trust and to pray. He teaches them the "Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Your name," pray this way, trust God.
Then, down in verse 9, or down in verse 19, he says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Then, in verse 24, he says, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he'll be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God," and money-- and mammon. So he says trust God and pray. Don't get swallowed up by treasure. And you can only serve two masters, and it should be God.
So here's the underlying truth-- God is to be your master. You are to be his servant. He is to be the master of your life. Now, this terminology is frequent in the scripture, because the master-slave relationship was quite common 2,000 years ago. It's estimated that between 60 and 120 million people were slaves at that time in some form or another. So it was a huge deal. And so it was common.
But here's the thing-- it was also comforting, in a sense. It was comforting because if you were a servant of somebody, if you were a slave, it meant your master had absolute total responsibility of every need you possessed. If you needed clothes, your master took care of it. If you needed a drink, your master took care of that for you and your family. Whatever you needed, your-- that's part of the deal, part of the relationship of the slave and master relationship. He takes care of everything.
One day, a man came up to John Wesley. You know, the famous evangelist. And said to him-- ran up in a panic, and he said, your house burned down. And he immediately said, no, it didn't. And they said, oh, yes, it did. He goes, no, it hasn't, because I don't own a house. The one I have been living in belongs to the Lord. And if it is burned down, then that's one less responsibility for me to worry about.
Now that's perspective. I don't have that perspective, but I need it. But you know, God is in control. We say that glibly, but He owns this world. And the Bible says the winds and the waves obey Jesus. There's nothing in nature that is out of God's control, even viruses. God is absolutely in control. God's got this. We don't know what the plan is, we don't know why, but God has this. We're going to get through this. And God owns the world, and God owns the people in the world.
Bible says the Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. So it all belongs to Him. He owns us by creation. He owns us by redemption. So because He's your master.
Second, because He's your Father. Even better-- because He's your Father. Now, that's a point Jesus makes in verse 26. He goes, look at the birds of the air. So, good thing, tomorrow morning, go outside. Do what Jesus said. You're self-quarantining. Birds aren't affected by coronavirus, last time I checked. So go get your little binoculars and watch them.
They're diligent. They're building their nest. But you know what they're doing? Singing. Whistling. And what Jesus says is, look at the birds of the air. They don't toil. They don't reap. They don't gather into the barns. But your Heavenly Father feeds them. Notice the language.
He doesn't say their Heavenly Father feeds them, because he's not their Heavenly Father. He's their heavenly creator, but there's no personal relationship. Birds don't pray. God doesn't promise to birds what he promises to us. So he's our father more than just our creator. So he says, look at the birds. Your Heavenly Father feeds them. Because He's your master, and also because He is your Father.
By the way, can you ever remember a time when you watched birds worry? You ever see a bird with its little beak down in its claws going, I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, man. What's the virus going to do? And what's going to happen with my home and the country in the future? No, they don't. They are singing, and they are at the mercy of their God and your Heavenly Father.
But you've got the promises they don't have. No bird was ever created in the image of God. No bird was ever recreated in the image of Christ. No bird was ever promised an eternity forever in Heaven, right? He's your master. He's your Father.
I've always loved that little poem. Lenya, you'll remember this, because Phil Cagey sang a song about it, and CS Lewis wrote a poem before that about it. "Said the sparrow to the Robin, I would surely like to know why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so. Said the Robin to the Sparrow, friend, I think that it must be they have no Heavenly Father such as care for you and me." So they would speak a lesson to us, because He is our Father.
Now, I want you to think for a moment what it costs God to be your Father, what it costs Him to make you His child. And it says in Romans chapter 8, verse 32, "He who did not spare His own son, but gave him up for us all, how will He not, along with him, graciously give us all things?"
So you know what that means? I know this is tough. I know this is a big trial. But worry advertises that we don't trust God as our master or our Father. What we're saying is, yeah, I don't think this is good. I don't think God's got this. He does have this . Worry advertises that you don't trust He's going to take care of you. He is. He promised He would.
So because of your master, because of your Father, and finally, because of your future-- your future. Now, Jesus makes personal application in verse 27. He says, to his disciples, which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit-- that's 18 inches-- to his stature?
Now, this may refer to length of life. Commentators sort of go back and forth. Should it be translated cubit to his stature, or should it be translated you can't add a single hour to your life or a day to your life? Doesn't matter. You can't do either. If you worry, it's unproductive.
I remember when I was younger, and I was filled with worry as a young junior high schooler. I was worried about the future. Raised in the 1960s-- I don't know if some of you young ones remember this, or have heard your parents tell you about this. But in 1960s California, we we're told about nuclear bombs and that you better watch out, because the enemy might blow us all up.
So we had nuclear bomb drills, atomic bomb drills, where you get under your desk, like that's going to really help a nuclear bomb. But they also built bomb shelters in California. And many of my friends in the back of their home, you could go underground 10 feet into a cement bomb shelter. And so we kind of grew up with the worry of being annihilated by nuclear explosion. And that was just nuclear explosion. Then, as a kid, I'm worried about am I going to be tall?
Because I was sort of a short kid growing up. I didn't really-- believe it or not, I'm 6'5" now. Right? But there was a time where I thought, I don't know what's going to happen in my future. I was a skinny kid, and I was trying to gain weight. And my mom had me drink cream and eat butter cubes and do everything I could to get rid of that worry and to hopefully grow up a little bit.
But the crazy stuff that I used to worry about. Now, when it comes to the future, our culture is obsessed with the future. I'm watching news today, and they're trying to predict what the markets are going to do and predict how long this is going to last. We don't know. But we're in this together. We're in it for the long haul.
But listen to what Jesus said in verse 34. "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own trouble." Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It only empties today of its strength. So don't cripple the present by worrying about the future. That's the point of this verse.
So the rule is don't worry. And the reasons are because of the master-- God as your master-- your Father-- God is your Heavenly Father-- and your future. Now, I want to end on this note-- the recourse. What should we do instead? What is the backup plan instead of worrying about it?
Verse 33, first word is "but." It's a word of contrast. So don't worry, but seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Here's the principle-- don't worry. Instead, work. Instead of worrying, work. That's the solution, in part. That's the antidote to worry.
Don't be slaves of fear. Be servants of your father. Get busy about the kingdom work during this time of difficult. Now, usually, we reverse this. We seek first our own kingdom, our own pleasure, our own comfort, and we just hope the Kingdom of God's going to be added to us. Jesus said, nope, seek first the kingdom. Seek the Lord. Ask Him what He's doing, what He wants you to be doing, and He will add everything you need to that.
So while you're quarantined, I'm going to encourage you to stay busy. Stay busy praying, because Jesus gave this model prayer in the chapter and verses before us. "In this manner, therefore, pray-- Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." Pray during this time. And while your quarantined, bless people. Bless people.
Somebody once said, blessed is the person who is too busy to work in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night. Let me give you some suggestions. Check in on one another. Make phone calls. If you can't go out, make phone calls and ask, can I deliver food to you? Can I do something for you? Especially those who are shut in, those who are elderly. Pray for people. Call them and just pray.
Offer to help. Stay connected. I don't like this term "social distancing." I know that is the term, but people are already distant from one another, already disconnected from one another. So in the midst of social distancing, make sure that you're not spiritually distancing. Connect with people. Pray for people. Support people. Let them know you love them. This is the time they need to hear.
So I would say, to put it all together, convert your fears into faith and redirect your energy heavenward instead of just earthward. OK? I'm going to pray and then we're going to have a little bit of time of discussion of what we can practically do. Let's pray together.
Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. We do want Your kingdom to come, Lord. You did say that things would happen in the very end of days, and we're not saying this is that. But we're looking up, because our redemption draws nigh. And we are saying, Lord, we want Your kingdom to come on Earth as it is in Heaven and Your will to be done.
We do pray, Lord, that you would give us, your people, the body of Christ, those who are connected by television or the internet or their device or radio, give the daily bread that is needed, the daily provision that is required. And Lord, we pray that You'd keep us from temptation-- the temptation to worry and to doubt Your provision. And Father, we trust You, and we know that Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Amen. All right, well, I've got some friends coming here. And I'm going to ask them a few questions, and we're going to dialogue together. How are you guys doing?
This fine evening. What a great way to do church, huh?
Yeah. So this is Austin. Austin, you're one of our assistant pastors on staff, and the trend is beards. You have one. You've grown a mighty beard. I didn't think you could do it at first, but you've done pretty well. So this whole new thing of Calvary at home, Calvary Church at home and the online community going forward, could you tell us about how that works and what we can expect?
Absolutely. So, I mean, the big heart behind all of the church online community is that we get to bring the church to you. No matter what season you're going through, no matter where you are, we get to bring the church to you.
I mean, it's a great reminder, especially in this season for us, that church isn't a building. It's a people.
And so being able to provide a platform, like we just launched-- it's live.calvarynm.church-- that you can join in-- we have a chat in there that you can engage with people, that pastors are going to be available to be able to chat with you. If you're going through something, you need prayer, you can click Live Chat, and people can pray with you right then and there. There's also--
It's so good. I watched this at the weekend, and I noticed how many people were coming on and interacting. And our pastoral team was writing them back, counseling them and receiving their prayer requests. So cool.
Yeah, it's amazing. One of the really cool things that I like is we can put in any notes for people. So you can type in your notes and follow along, send it to yourself, as well as sign into your Bible app, your YouVersion Bible app, and follow along with the message as we go through scripture together.
You know, so often we talk about the church beyond walls. And now the Lord is giving us the opportunity to really step up to the plate and provide that for people in a very unique fashion. And so we're really grateful for the technology.
Absolutely. It's amazing. And just so that you know, all of our regular services are still going to be happening. Just tune in on our online community page at live.calvarynm.church, and we'll see you there.
That's great. Thank you so much, Austin.
Right next to you is Roxy Sharpe, and Roxy does not have a beard. I'm glad for that, by the way.
So am I. Thank you.
She is just a superstar children's director. And you know, we can't leave out the kids. Because in a crisis like this, it's not just about adults paying attention to the news or watching online, but their kids have spiritual needs, as well. So, Roxy, how are we providing for kids?
Well, we have put together a calvarykids.online.church.
There's a lot of dots here tonight.
There's a lot of dots there. And we just had a blast over the last few days just preparing this. We've got the Kids Worship team coming out and doing our worship, just like you'd have it in Sunday school here on campus. And we have the Bible drama doing their Bible lesson that way this week, as well. So on that page, you'll see a sidebar that is our notes, and it has family follow-up conversation starters, as well.
So I envision families sitting around the kitchen table having Sunday school together.
That's really good. So let me just say to our audience, before I finish up here with you, Antonio, is that there's a lot of ways you can go online. I'll tell you the reason we did this new format, this new website. You could watch on just the app that we have. You could go online and just go to our website and watch live. You could see it on YouTube, as well. But this is a platform that allows interaction and fellowship, even though we're distant from one another.
You can bring prayer requests. We can counsel you. We can give you resources. So we're not just giving you a new website to give you a new website. We're doing it to connect better. So I want you to say the website again.
Yeah. It's going to be a live.calvarynm.church.
And then, Roxy, you give that address again.
Good. Great. And if you didn't get that, just rewind what you're watching, and you'll be able to get it. Next to us is Antonio. Antonio does have a beard.
Slightly. Slightly, yes.
You had a longer one, but I'm liking the looks of that.
So, Antonio, you know, in this time of social distancing, it's so counterintuitive, because the church is community.
We connect. We hug. We weep together. But we're told we can't really be together. So what do we do? What are we working on in terms of watch parties, we call it?
Well, if you're healthy-- like the president addressed on Monday, if you're healthy and you want to gather in a group of 10 or less people, you can do that, and we're encouraging everybody to do it. If you're part of that group, we can invite you to go to somebody's house. Or you can have a watch party in your own living room.
What a watch party is, is you gather together with a group of people, and you watch the Calvary worship service in your living room, or at somebody else's living room, through the platform that we had just discussed. Many of you have probably had a Super Bowl party in your living room, or you've gone to a Super Bowl party. Well, this is a super worship party, and the party doesn't stop.
So we encourage you to go to another website, and it is calvarynm.church/watchparty. And on that website, you can learn how you can post to invite people to your own watch party. Or if you're looking for one, we have a couple watch parties already established. You can find out where they're at in the city, and you can request to join their watch party.
But aside from watch parties, throughout the week, our connect groups, our small groups, very vital to the church, most of them are still meeting in groups of 10 or less. And we encourage you, if you don't have a group of people in your life, fellow believers, who are gathering around you in prayer, those that you can discuss the Word with, we encourage you to go to our website, calvarynm.church/connectgroups, and learn how you can join a connect group. And if you want to inquire how you can lead a connect group, you can also go there.
But it's all about fellowship. And the president has given us those parameters. If you're healthy and you still want a fellowship, we encourage you to get together and still do that.
Yes. So I'm going to lead us-- or I'm going to have you lead us in prayer before we end this in worship. But let me just say to you again, let not your heart be troubled. That's what Jesus said. Don't let it be troubled. It has the tendency to do it. You're going to want to be tempted to do it. We are going to get through this victoriously. We are. And we're going to beat this thing.
And we're just being vigilant, and we're being loving, and we're doing all the things for our population. You know, the whole world is facing-- this is very unprecedented. It's not like September 11th. September 11th, we were hit, and the world watched it, and we all suffered here in this country. What happened in 2008, the economy collapsed. But it's not like now. The entire world is facing the same things we are.
So God is up to something for even allowing this. And we want to find out what it is, even if it's humbling ourselves and repenting before God as a nation. You know, we had a National Day of Prayer this last weekend. We should have a National Month of Prayer. When I was on the phone call with the White House, 20 of us the other day, one of the pastors suggested, and it'll be brought to the president-- he said, hey, suggest to the president that he declare a month of prayer. And we're hoping that.
We want to see our nation brought back to God. We're glad you joined us. I do want to say that coming up this weekend-- and we have all four services scheduled, Saturday and Sunday-- I'm going to be bringing a special message out of the Book of Psalms that will encourage your heart. Some concrete steps to take when times are uncertain like this. You're going to want to tune in and tell your friends to, as well. But Antonio, would you close this off before we end in worship, in prayer?
Absolutely. Heavenly Father, You tell us in Your Word many times, fear not. And so, Father, we want to be obedient to that command, to fear not. We thank you, Father, that You hold the world in Your hand, and You hold us in Your hand, Lord. And nothing can snatch us out of Your hand.
And so, Father, as many are home for the week, many have lost their jobs, many are wondering what's next, Father, we know that You're going to take care of us. We know that You're going to watch over us, You're going to provide for us, Lord. And for those that don't know You, I pray that this would draw them closer to You, that they could come to a loving salvation in Jesus Christ and faith in Him.
So, Father, we lift up our prayer to You that You would calm the fears of Your people, Father. And I pray that this would draw people closer to You. May the church come together and be stronger because of this, Lord. And we know that all things work for the good to those that love You, Lord, and those that are called according to Your purpose. And so, Father, we hold on to Your promises. We trust You. We thank You.
And we just praise your name, Lord. We say these things and we ask these things in the precious name of our great Almighty, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.