On Anxiety

“Therefore http://cialistadalafils.com/ I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor 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: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

– Matthew 6:25-34

As I read this passage, while simultaneously observing our culture (and myself), a few things jump out at me:

First, Jesus was admonishing his listeners to not be “anxious about their life”. Notice their worries: What shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear? These worries were not the same worries most of us have in the 21st century West. When we worry about “what shall we wear”, it’s because we’re having a hard time choosing from all the clothes in the closet. In Jesus time, they were worried about not having any clothes. Ditto for “what shall we eat”; they weren’t stressed because they couldn’t decide between Mexican and Steak. they were stressed because they were running out of oil and grain, and harvest was still two months away.

For the most part, we have it so much better than they did, materially. And yet I am surrounded by people consumed by their worries. I know people, who have almost everything they could possibly wish for materially, socially, spiritually, and familialy (new word!), who are paralyzed with fear for the future and with uncertainty about the now. I want to tell them “don’t worry! Just live!” But then I look at myself; all it takes is just one tear in just one of the multiple safety-nets that I have been blessed with to start me revving the engine of worry in my own life.

For many of us, worry is something that we wrongly think comes at us from the outside. And yet in the Bible anxiety is rightly shown to be something we do, and that we should not do. “Do not be anxious” is a command, much like “rejoice!” is a command. It is in our power to refuse anxiety, and Christ tells us to do so.

And it’s only because of Him that we can do so! This universe can be a scary, lonely place, even for well-heeled, modern, 21st century types like many of us. But the Gospel, the Good News proclaimed by Jesus, includes the wonderful reassurance that our Father knows our needs, and He cares for us. No matter what happens in this life (and there are many bad things that can and do happen) He is there, and in His hand is ultimate healing, ultimate sustenance, ultimate protection.

We are not alone.

Jesus calls us to focus our lives on what is really important. Have you ever noticed that worry does a great job of crowding out of your mind the things you need to be focusing on? Like living, for instance. Worry sticks our feet in plaster, befogs our eyes, and stuffs our ears with cotton.

Jesus tells us to throw all that aside, and live, setting our eyes, minds, thoughts, and actions toward the Kingdom of God that Jesus Himself has inaugurated, and toward the righteousness that is the banner of that Kingdom.

“. . . and all these things will be added to you.”

[Note: this was cross-posted at Thinklings]

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