Friday 25 September 2009
Lately I've been thinking about Luke 12 which says in part
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. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider 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! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"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. If 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! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Does this advise us not to think, plan or work hard? Surely not, since so many other parts of the Bible (including words of Jesus himself) tell us to do those things. So I suppose the important thing here is primarily to get our priorities straight, and then to work hard but not worry for a moment about the results.
This is difficult for me because there are many things I care deeply about, including my work, my family, and my friends, so I worry about them. I don't think it's wrong to care about these things; Jesus certainly cared deeply about many people. Apathy is an easy alternative to worry but I don't think it's what God wants. This is a very practical issue for me because at times over the last year or two I've not been sleeping as well as usual because of work-related stress.
I think what God intends is for me to care deeply but trust him even more deeply, for me to do all I can and leave all results entirely in his hands, to be always joyful knowing that he is the ultimate benefactor.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is hard for me to do, it's a constant spiritual exercise, but by grace I've had some success lately. I'll need to keep at it.