Why Do We Worry?

Illustration depicting a highway gantry sign with a stress concept. Blue sky background.

Illustration depicting a highway gantry sign with a stress concept. Blue sky background.

In his most famous sermon, Jesus tells the Jewish crowd not to worry about their life, what they will eat or drink or wear. With a series of questions and word pictures he gives them his reasons.

“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?”

“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?”

What do these three have in common—birds, lilies, grass? They are seemingly insignificant things with short life spans.

We find the point of these illustrations in the phrases: much more valuable, and much more. If God takes special care of seemingly insignificant things, will he not much more take care of you?

Jesus asks, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Another question, “Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” Jesus implies that there’s something more important than the basic necessities of life, but if you keep focusing on those, you’ll miss the truly important part of life.

One more reason not to worry: “The pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”

Who are the pagans? Those who don’t know God. They have every reason to worry—they don’t have a heavenly Father taking care of them.

But we do.

So why are we running around acting like those who don’t know God? Because we’re included in Jesus’ rebuke—O you of little faith!

Now the climax of the passage tells us where to put our focus: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Instead of running after our basic concerns, seek what is more important—God’s concerns. The cause and effect here is that when we focus on God’s agenda, he’ll make sure ours is taken care of.

And one more thing: “Don’t worry about the future—tomorrow—God will take care of that too.

3 comments to Why Do We Worry?

  • Oh Janet, thank you for this! I believe memorizing this sermon has helped me so much to grow in trusting God with the things that can easily cause me worry. Jesus reminds us that we are loved and are cared for and as we get our priorities straight, seeking His kingdom first, we will have all we need, minus the stress.

  • Mike

    The only way I know to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness is to remember His word. “Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget none of His benifts.” Psalm 103

    • I agree Mike. That is what keeps me on the path seeking him daily. Otherwise I follow the world and end up where I don’t want to be. Thanks for sharing.