Tight rope walkers, snake handlers, and mothers of 3 children or more amaze me. I am easily overwhelmed by fear of things…. I have never done. I remember the first day of my sophomore year in high school. New school, new rules, and new people. The part that got me was the consequences of infractions. If you did drugs, expelled. If you got in a fight, expelled. If you skipped class, death by detention. About half an hour into the lecture on punishments for being a problem student a thought hit me. I don’t do drugs, the most aggressive I ever got was to push someone, and I had never skipped a class in my life… not because I didn’t want to though.
Many of us have heard the passage about “Do not worry” from scriptures. Luke 12: 22-34 details how God takes care of every creature and therefore will care for us so much more, but we have missed the point if we start at verse 22. If we go back to the passages of 1-12 and 13-21, we see how the passage on worry has a context. The Pharisees would threaten the people with the Torah and all of the law contained therein. He told the people that The Pharisees and other officials were not out of God’s sight and held no real power. They could only affect this life whereas the God who loves them controlled eternity. Jesus follows the first passage with a parable of a man who put his trust in this world and his wealth, storing it up and feeling so secure but the reality was that his life would end that very night and he was not prepared for that.
We live in a world that has sold us on the notion that “more is better”. More technology, more house, more speed…. More debt and less time. When our country was “founded”, it was started by people who had no idea what it meant to sow, plant, harvest, or pray. They simply wanted to get away from the crown and be free. When they arrived, they encountered people who they called savage because they weren’t clothed from head to toe, had not big houses, and no “civilized advancements”. They lived on the land, in tents that allowed them shelter but portability and their family was their real wealth because they respected the One who gave them each other. The response was to try to make them like us rather than learn a new way of life and living.
We often try to escape our failings and past in much the same way. What we often don’t realize is that unless we change our way of living, we ultimately take ourselves wherever we go and live the same way as before. Jesus offers advice as well as counsel for how to escape the delusion of self-reliance and manipulation. Simply stated, “Do not worry”. We are invited to stop following a world that “runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”
What am I running after that God has in His hand, ready to give me?