18 November 2014

Good morning everyone
Todays message comes from Matthew 6:25-34 and is entitled “Jesus Shows Us Our Father”   this is what the passage of verse says
“Therefore 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? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that 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, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So 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. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I’m sure everyone is familiar with, which is worry. How many of you have ever heard of the song or the phrase “Don’t worry, be happy”? Most of us, but let me ask you how many of us actually are able to live out what this song tells us to do. The reality is I’m sure all of us through the course of our lives have experienced worry and anxiety about different things. Worry and anxiety are common sources of misery today.  As many of you are aware, these days there are a lot of worried people here in Australia with the whole economic crisis going on, people having fears about losing their money, their jobs, even losing their houses. I know many people that are having a hard time finding a job.

The word worry in the Greek, means to be divided.  The Greek word (merimnao) is formed by two root words “divided” and “mind.”  To worry means to be pulled in many different directions.  First, one fear pulls you one direction, then another fear pulls you another direction.  If we keep this up we soon get pulled apart; we can literally worry ourselves sick.  I don’t know about you, but for me there have definitely been times in my life where I have felt myself being pulled apart by worries.

There is no shortage of potential items to worry about. Jesus mentions several matters of common concern. When you hear Jesus’ words, it may sound like he is talking just to people who are in poverty, doesn’t it?  But the reality is that even wealthy people worry just as much if not more than poor people. Forbes, a business magazine had done a survey of rich people and asked them what they worried about. One common concern they had was balancing family and business interests and teaching their children how to manage their money properly. Another striking one was not being able to maintain and improve their current status and get ahead. They’re already rich and well off and yet they still are worried and want more.

I remember as a small kid, my life was worry and care free. But over time, I saw my life getting filled with more and more worries, and getting weighed down. Worry about allowance, worry about making the footy team, worry about getting into uni, or getting a good job, worrying about groceries/paying the bills, worrying about kids, worrying about retirement, worrying about health, worrying about grandchildren later in life

So as I’m sure you’ve experienced, as life progresses, more and more you get weighed down by different worries and at times it may seem like taking a step is too hard. So, what do we do about this? What is the solution?

In 1 Peter 5:7 it says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” What does it mean to cast our cares? It basically means to unload our cares unto God and leave it there not to try to carry it on our own strength. It’s like a person carrying this heavy backpack but giving it to someone else stronger to carry it. But why should we cast our cares upon God? Like the Matthew 6 passage tells us, it’s because God loves us and considers us more valuable than anything else. The God who created each and every one of us is not an impersonal and distant God who doesn’t care about how we’re doing but on the contrary he cares very deeply about what is going on in each one of our lives. Maybe sometimes you do feel lonely, you feel abandoned, you feel there is no one to share your worries with but I wanted to let you know that you are never alone because God is always with you. In God’s eyes, you are valuable and precious beyond comparison. In fact the bible tells us that God cares so much about each one of us that he even knows how many strands of hair are on our heads.

What additional proof in the bible is there that shows us that we are much more valuable than the birds in the air, than the lilies in the field? First of all, you were created in the image of God! In Genesis 1:27, it says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Out of all creation, and the estimate is that there is at least 3 million different kinds of animals in our world, mankind, you and me are the only ones that were created in God’s image. And second, it says in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

For God so loved each and every one of us here in this room that He was willing to allow His one and only Son to die on the cross so that we can have an eternal relationship with Him. I don’t know how many of you have your own children and even grandchildren, but now that I have two of my own children and Amanda has three and knowing how precious they are to me, the fact that God was willing to give up his one and only son for all of us means so much more to me now since I have a greater understanding of how hard it must have been for God to do so. Whenever we find ourselves wondering if God loves us or not, if He really cares about what is going on in our lives, especially the times when we are facing difficulties in our lives, all we need to do is look to the cross and remember what He has already done on the cross.

Now let’s look at verse 33.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So, related to casting our anxiety onto God, another way we fight our worries is by seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. What is Jesus talking about here? It seems that Jesus is telling us here that we are to put spiritual matters above earthly matters. Make God, His kingdom and His right way of living first.

There are more important things to be seeking after than just the things of this world that concerns us. You can have all the wealth this world has to offer, and all the luxuries in this world, but at the end of your life, you can’t take any of it with you. One way people have described what seeking the kingdom of God is referring to is that it is talking about seeking eternal life. And how do we have eternal life is through a relationship with God. Remember I talked about John 3:16 earlier- that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have eternal life.

The sad thing is that often people feel like there is no room, no time in their lives to think about God, to seek Him because they are so preoccupied with their other worries and concerns. But like we’ve been talking about today and previous times as well, the most important thing you can’t neglect in your life is your personal relationship with God. Someone once told me this profound truth – life is short, death is certain, eternity is long and whether or not you have a relationship with God has eternal consequences.

So as we close today, I want to ask you, do you have that personal relationship with God, your heavenly Father? When you know that you are God’s child, and that He loves you more than anything else, then you can trust and have faith that no matter what happens in your life, no matter what hardships or storms may arise in your life, that God is still with you. It doesn’t necessarily mean he will take away all troubles/hardships in life but what He does promise is that He will be with you and help you through it. I think about my daughter who i sometimes was afraid of the dark, but when she knows that I am right beside her, then she is okay with it because she knows her daddy will protect her. In the same way, we can trust in God, knowing that He will watch over us and be with us no matter what dark times or storms we may face in life. So what are your worries, your anxieties facing you today? Give them to God!