March 06, 2020 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
We have been told that we should not sweat the small stuff. Don't worry, be happy. Such advice is easier to give than to live. We usually end up sweating the small stuff and dreading the big stuff. Most of us worry about anything and everything.
Jesus commands His people not to worry. He says, "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?" (Matthew 6:25-27)
I had the privilege of preaching a sermon on this passage two Sundays ago. I was tested on it last Saturday. After all, a preacher must practice what he preaches. God tests our faith so that we keep practicing it. Let me tell you a little story with the hope that you can get something out of it.
I was in Virginia last weekend attending my son's college graduation. It was a great weekend. I planned to fly back last Saturday evening so that I could preach at Mission Street on Mother's Day. My son-in-law graciously agreed to drive me to the Roanoke Regional Airport. We were on time. The sun was now shining. Everything was great, right? No, not so fast. Unknown to me, the weather was bad in Charlotte, North Carolina, where my flight was to connect to another and bring me back to Boston.
My cell phone rang. It was the airline with an automated message: my flight had been postponed by 90 minutes. Before that could sink in, my cell phone rang again: my flight had been cancelled. I started thinking after I informed my son-in-law of the bad news. He then asked me, "Are you worried?" Before I could answer, he said to me, "Remember what you preached on last Sunday." I started to pray to God, asking Him for a substitute flight that was even more beneficial than the first one. I made up my mind not to worry, and asked God to help me.
Now praying about a situation does not mean that you sit on your hands and do nothing. When the prophet Nehemiah was threatened when rebuilding the temple wall, he said. "we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat." (Nehemiah 4:9) I called the airlines with the goal of finding another flight. I was on hold for 30 minutes and dragged through several commercials while waiting. Whatever happened to the nice music? It is long gone. When a business has your attention for 30 minutes, they are not going to waste it by entertaining you. They are going to get right to work and sell you something!
Well, I can tell you I walked into the Roanoke airport still on hold. So much for that route. A pleasant young woman at the desk asked me, "Will you be checking any bags with us tonight, sir?" I replied, "Unfortunately, I don't think so." She asked for my name and confirmed what I had now began to accept: my flight was indeed cancelled. A customer to my left was not accepting some bad news that another clerk was telling him. From what I could tell, he was going to spend the night sleeping in the airport. Time to start worrying? No, I prayed again as my son-in-law watched, perhaps looking for signs of worry. I resisted that temptation.
The clerk told me, "we have to get you to Dulles." I knew Dulles was an airport in Washington, DC, and still a long way from Boston destination. She asked me if I needed to
check any bags. I replied, "no." She kept typing and looking at a computer screen while I watched her face for early signs of whether God would answer my prayer. Another clerk handed her a boarding pass which she handed to me. This was cause for hope. She said, that I would be in Boston 25 minutes earlier than my original travel plans. There it is. God took care of me!
She then added, "you have to run though, the plane for Dulles is about to take off!" I fumbled through security and ran down the jet way. Most of the time you expect an airplane fuselage at the end of a jet way. Not tonight! A set of stairs leading to a runway with a small plane with propellers! They were waiting for me like I was a VIP. I asked the flight attendant, "Where should I sit?" She replied, "Anywhere you like." Thank you, Lord! My flights got me safely back in Boston. I was back at Mission Street on Sunday morning.
Jesus answers prayer. Not only mine, but yours as well. If you have God in your life, you have no reason to worry. He will take care of you in the small stuff and in the big stuff. No need to worry.
Jesus says, "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?" Jesus presents a logical argument to us—from the lesser to the greater—which is essentially this: Birds do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them. If God provides even for these lower creatures, how much more will he care for you, who were created in his very image. God provides for His creation. God’s people are more important to him than his other creation. Elsewhere, Jesus says, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-30)
A life which does not give priority to God cannot be lived well. We were created to glorify God, not merely to survive. Worry does not change things, nor does it help us cope with problems. Jesus asks us, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" No one, of course. Worry does no good. It cannot add to your life, it can only detract from it with the stress of a divided mind. Worry is senseless.
Here is another Biblical argument, this time from the greater to the lesser, found in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also graciously give us all things?" If He graciously and permanently solved your biggest problem (sin against God), can you trust Him to solve your lesser ones?
Jesus is not saying life will be trouble-free. All people have trouble, believers included. Yet, there is a world of difference between facing problems with faith in our heavenly Father and facing them with worry. Jesus Christ won the war with the world, the flesh and the devil, so you can now win the battle. If you don't know or don't believe that Jesus won the war, you cannot win the battle. Is there a war of worry going on inside of you? The relentless torment of worry will make war against your peace. You are fighting a war that has been won. Surrender to Jesus. Lay your burdens at His feet. "Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) Don't sweat the small stuff, nor dread the big stuff. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)