This evening we continued our discussions based on the lessons from the Sermon on the Mount. We started by asking each member of the group to write out five things that they worry about. Most of the worries expressed involved concerns about our families, their health and well being. Some expressed concerns about particular aspects of their jobs as physicians. I was personally surprised that not many voiced worries about their patients and the care we are rendering them. I for one find this a particularly heavy burden and worry frequently. Though many people in our society often worry about their financial well being, we, as physicians of comfortable means for the most part, did not raise that as a particular issue.
What do all these things that we mentioned have in common? The answered, we greed, is that they are all dear to us. We hold them as greatly valuable and we treasure them. If we worry about our jobs or patients we not only have their best interest at heart but also how they do from our care impacts our reputation which is also highly valued by each of us. The second common factor that was mentioned is that all the things we worry about are things that are related to the future. We do not worry about the past – what’s done is done is the attitude expressed. But the future is the unknown and it is not under our control. We are creatures that love to be in control and the future is not ours to control. The third aspect of worry is that many of the things we worry about never actually come to pass. This means we speand an awful lot of time and effort thinking about something that never happens. This is more evidence that the furture is not ours to control.
We then read what Jesus said about worry in Matt 6:25-34. We discussed the various aspects of this passage. Most of the passage encourages us to trust in God’s provision and not on our own. He restates the immensity of his love for us and that he cares for us so much more than the flowers of the field or the birds of the air. We concentrated on the last verse in this passage in which Christ tells us “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We discussed that this is the passage that really nails the fact that all our worries are about the future, which is not our realm – the future is God’s realm. Each day comes with its own issues and He tells us to work in the present, since each day has enough trouble of its own.
We then spoke about the fact that the things you worry about can really reveal what you truly treasure. In fact, the passage prior to the one on worry in Matthew concerns the Lord’s guidance on what we treasure. This passage gives the context for the worrying passage. In Matt 6:19-21, 24 Jesus warns us not to store up our treasures on earth but in heaven and that we can not serve two masters, money and God. You can only love one and you will hate the other. The group pointed out that it is not just money that can take the place of God in a person’s heart. It can be fame, power, prestige or reputation. Anything that you work harder to achieve than the relationship with God our father will take his place. Worrying about these things shows our heart is not where it should be.
One last thought on this passage is that Jesus does not say not to prepare for the future or be ready for it, just not to spend your efforts on worrying about it. The future is God’s territory, let him work it.