Our pastor preached a message out of Luke 12:22-34 so apropos for today that I thought I'd give it some blog space of its own. There are people I love in my life that worry a lot and it makes me worried for them. So I'm testing out some of Pastor Boyd's practical advice by getting these thoughts out of my brain and out through my fingertips. You can listen here and take some therapeutic notes for yourself, if you wish, but here are what I thought were the essential points.
Note: 6/8/2008 – Ravens and Wildflowers, Greg Boyd – sermon length is 44:02 minutes
As a society, we’re extremely worried. Concern about countless issues pervades our lives: our relationships, our kids, terror attacks, global warming, pandemics, the economy, living the American Dream – if we’re not careful, this worry can consume us. Jesus provides us with the Kingdom alternative to worrying, and it’s surprisingly related to birds and flowers. [Focus Scripture: Luke 12:22-34]
- We are living in an age of anxiety. It is the #1 mental health problem in adults & children.
- General level of anxiety is on the rise.
- Worrying kills us.
- We are designed with a flight or flight response.
- One shot of this powerful chemical concoction stays in the body for 18 minutes.
- God's design was for this to be a rare and short term thing.
- Worrying is giving yourself a steady dose.
- Amount of worry correlates to amount of sickness people experience.
- Worry steals and undermines quality of life.
- Can't be worried and happy at the same time.
- Fight or flight chemicals are designed for you NOT to be ok.
- Sustained worrying equals no joy.
2) Watch less News. Mostly highlights the worst that the world has to offer.
Used to be that a person was aware only of what happened to them, their family, their neighborhood. World catastrophies weren't heard about until months later....now, it's just mere minutes and we hear AND experience vicariously all the "what ifs" and "why nots" while those of us living in the U.S. are safest than anywhere else in the world...we worry most and often experience "survivor's guilt" and a general feeling of helplessness and despair.
Fight or Flight designed so you can ACT!
Limit amount and what you bring into your brain.
- When you witness horrific events say a prayer for the sufferers.
- Respond if God says send money or go help!
- Then forget about it! Survivor's guilt doesn't do any good.
Keep a kind of "Things to Worry About Later" journal and get these worries out of your head! Anyone who does this knows it really works!
As usual, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter. He wants to eradicate worry out of our life not just give some cosmic self-help "how to become healthy/happy/secure".
More to the point: He wants to make us Kingdom people. He says,
Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you.
Be like ravens, not like rich farmers. Trust God will feed you.
OK Jesus, but sometimes ravens starve or get eaten by other ravenous wild animals. And wildflowers are here today and gone tomorrow.
And that's his point. They live fully in the moment as long as they are alive.
You are much more valuable than the raven and wildflower.
When you die you die. God will take care of you.
But unlike ravens and wildflowers we have the capacity to make the world our treasure...things that pass away. Jesus is saying, do not worry about things that pass away. Don't have your treasure there. Carefree doesn't mean you don't care. It means you'll have His peace that surpasses understanding. You are going to die. So what. Trust God. Live carefree. He's given you the Kingdom.
We will live more passionately and more effectively if we are not clinging to it...place no identity, have no security wrapped up in the world; rather keep your eternal perspective and be free to live like a real human being.
Then Jesus said to his disciples:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry
about your life, what you will eat;
or about your body,
what you will wear.
Life is more than food,
and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens:
They do not sow or reap,
they have no storeroom or barn;
yet God feeds them.
And how much more valuable you are than birds!
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing,
why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the wild flowers grow.
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor
was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today,
and tomorrow is thrown into the fire,
how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!
And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink;
do not worry about it.
For the pagan world runs after all such things,
and your Father knows that you need them.
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Do not be afraid, little flock,
for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
Sell your possessions and give to the
poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out,
a treasure in heaven that will never fail,
where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."