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7 Reasons Not to Worry

Reason #5: Pagans worry (Matt. 6:30-32a). Some of us worry so much, we might as well be atheists. We are living like God doesn’t really exist. That’s what pagans do.

A pagan doesn’t have to be somebody who worships idols and sacrifices frogs. A pagan is somebody who thinks life is about what you will eat, what you will drink, what you will wear. Pagans think that life consists in the abundance of one’s possessions. Pagans spend their money and hoard their money like there was no God in the universe watching over them or watching out for them.

Let me pause right here because some of you are asking the question the rest of us are afraid to speak: “But what if God doesn’t take care of me?” What about Christians starving to death? What about Christian’s being driven from their homes? What about the thousands of good Christians who will die this year from cancer or car accidents or cardiac arrest? Doesn’t God promise to take care of them too?

Those are fair questions—and questions that wouldn’t surprise Jesus or any of the writers of the Bible. Revelation speaks of a set number of martyrs. Paul told the Romans that even in hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword and slaughter they would be more than conquerors. Jesus told his disciples, “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life” (Luke 21:16-19). Jesus never told his disciples that being a Christian was a “get out of suffering free” card.

So can we count on God or not?

First, we need to remember the context. Jesus is talking about people serving mammon instead of God (Matt. 6:24). In Luke’s account in Luke 12, Jesus is talking about rich fools building bigger barns and worry-worts storing up treasures on earth. His point here is that we won’t die on account of over-generosity. That’s the first to note.

But that’s only part of the answer. I think the rest of the answer is found in verse 32: “Your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” What is “them”? Verses 30 and 31 suggest the “them” is food and drink. And what do we need these things for? For life. God knows what we need to keep on living … so long as he wants us to live. God knows that we need clothes, food and drink to live, and he will give us all the clothes, food and drink to live until he wants us to die.

This is based on a profound theological truth: God is not stupid. God sees us. He knows we are here. He hasn’t gone out for lunch. He isn’t taking a nap. He’s not like a parent who loses a child in some other part of the grocery store. He is for you, not against you. Jesus doesn’t promise all your wildest dreams will come true, but he does promise that God will give you what you need to glorify him and to live out all the days he has written in his book.

That may sound sort of dumb, but it is really profound. There is more to life, Jesus is saying, than living. We are going to die. So don’t make it your goal in life to simply stay alive; you’ll fail at that. We are here to do more than avoid death. “God will give you all the food and drink and clothes you need to live,” Jesus says. “And when I want you to stop living, you’ll stop living. I’m in control. You were put here for a reason bigger than to just live.” Be consumed, v. 31 says, with the kingdom. Be consumed with seeing God’s reign and rule over your life, and family, and church, and the lost peoples of the world. You’re not a pagan after all.