This week in our "Epic" prayer and reading guide, we come across a very popular passage when Jesus taught on the topic of worry. The dictionary definition of worry is: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts and to torment with cares, anxieties, etc.; trouble; plague. I find it interesting that the word torment is used to describe worry. The word plague makes me think of being called a worry wort. Isn't a wort a virus?
I wonder if Matthew and Luke were worriers and if that is why they both made it a point to write about this teaching of Jesus'. These two men were not fisherman either. Matthew was a tax collector and Luke was a physician. Matthew dealt with money and Luke dealt with health. Today they would be considered "white collar" professionals. Fisherman would be considered "blue collar" professionals and were probably used to living one day at a time. At least every time Jesus shows up while they are on the job, they aren't catching much or anything at all. Luke 12:22-34 says, "Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
In the spring of 2008, flour, rice, eggs and cooking oil were hit by the economic bomb. Milk was at an all time high and bread prices were close to $4 a loaf. At that time, oil prices were rising quickly, much like they are today. Just two weeks ago gas was under $3 and it is now up to $3.19 in some locations. The news reported then, that farmers were not producing enough grain to feed people and livestock because they needed the ethanol to produce gas to feed our cars. (Ethanol is made from corn and other crops. It is a renewable fuel.) The media reported then also that bulk club stores were limiting purchases on rice and flour. The way the media reports these stories puts fear in the hearts of many of us, including me. Psalms 37:25 says, "I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."
I remember watching a Christian news broadcast during that crisis and they reported that some people had quit attending Sunday church because they couldn't afford the gas in their cars. I'm sure these people drove to work and the grocery store. I wonder what God must be thinking of us. Didn't Jesus conclude his teaching on worry with where our treasure is there our hearts will be? Not going to church to save gas? Yet people will drive out of their way to find the lowest prices for food and gas. Proverbs 13:22b says, "... but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous." Proverbs 13:23 says, "A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away." Doesn't it seem that the high demand for oil is injustice and the poor farmers who have been growing food for people are now having to grow food for our cars? But this last verse truly left me with hope that God is looking out after His children. Proverbs 13:25 says, "The righteous eat to their hearts' content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry."
I know it would seem silly of me to write about this, but being a mom with two children heading into the teen years, and one of them being a boy, it is a concern. But the Word of God gives me hope that everything is going to be o.k. So if you, like me, struggle with worry, in the words of Jesus, "Do not be afraid!" He has proven Himself faithful over and over. And He has nothing to prove to us. He is God and everything in the earth belongs to Him and He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10) Rather than worrying about rising costs, we should instead allow our faith to rise. We followers of Jesus shouldn't worry about inflation, we should match it with "in-faith-tion." Imagine what our world would be like if our faith rose to an all time high! It would be priceless! Do not fear, in-faith-tion is here!