I hope that you have all had a chance to be reading Matthew chapter 6 this week. I left off yesterday with the challenge to read this entire chapter and let the context of the entire passage begin to help shape our thinking on this issue of worry. I think that even though the chapter deals with many issues ranging from fasting and prayer to our finances and giving to the needy, there is still a strong connection to this thing that we all do; Worry.
In class this last Sunday morning, Andy Stanley began to unpack how worry is so often tied to our stuff and our money as Americans. He talked about how it really does become a trust (or faith) issue when worry begins to set in. But the cool thing is that God really is big enough for us to cast all of our cares on. He can handle it. Really, he can. I think that sometimes we think we are burdening God with our problems and so we keep them to ourselves (which is kindof silly when you think about it because he knows about all our situations already).
But what I found to be interesting is that when we look at the chapter in its entirety we begin to see some ways that we may increase our faith and bolster it in such a way that we begin to worry less and less and trust in him more and more.
This chapter of scripture is right in the middle of the most famous sermon ever preached. The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is laying out some foundational kingdom truths here that simply cannot be ignored. Several points, or maybe I should say questions, I would like you to think about over the next couple of days are as follows. Think about how you would answer these and share your thoughts in the discussion.
How would my awareness of the needy in our community or my active involvement in serving them or giving to them affect my tendency to worry? Would it help me to worry less or worry more? Why? (Mat. 6:1-4)
What does my prayer life look like and what effect might that have on our worry? How could prayer be a part of letting go of my worry? Does my ability to forgive play a role? (Mat. 6:5-15)
What happens when we fast? Why or How would redirecting my focus change the way worry impacts my life? (Mat. 6:16-18)
Finally how big of a role have I let my "stuff" play in relation to my capacity to worry? When I focus on the treasures of this world what does that do to my stress level (worry)? What does God's word say about ability to worry and chase after things that leave us feeling empty? Have you ever had a time when this was true for you? And, what does God's word say about our accumulation of the world's things? (Mat. 6:19-24)
So these are just a few things to ponder this week as we meditate on Matthew chapter 6. I hope that you will dive in and join us in this discussion even if it is only to read these blog posts and ponder that God is speaking to us through his word over the next several weeks.
I will be posting more on each of these sets of questions in the days to come.