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Worry

Today’s Reflection

WORRY CAN HIJACK our lives, and we’ve all experienced it. Jesus’ question to us in this passage (Matthew 6:25-34) is simply this: “Why do you worry?” . . .

Let’s start with the answer that’s front and center in the passage. Sometimes we worry about the basic things of life: food, drinks, clothes, and shelter. That is, we worry about material provision: Will we have enough? Where will our basic necessities come from? Are our sources reliable? For the original audience of this passage, these are legitimate worries. Jesus’ audience is, by and large, composed of rural peasants and a few tradespeople. They don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. Basic needs aren’t something Jesus’ earliest followers can count on. For far too many people in the world today, this continues to be the case.

To be clear, when Jesus tells these folks not to worry, he’s not doing so because he doesn’t care about their poverty or because he doesn’t think material deprivation is a big deal. Material insecurity is an evil, something to be eradicated whenever and wherever it shows itself. “Don’t worry” is never a sufficient response to the poverty of others. Jesus spends a lot of time in his ministry teaching about the responsibility that the rich have toward the poor, to say nothing of the times he miraculously meets people’s material needs. . . .

Nevertheless, even to those in dire straits, Jesus warns against all-consuming worry and offers an invitation: “Don’t worry; your heavenly Father cares for you. See yourself beyond that which you lack. Seek first the kingdom of God, and God will provide for your needs.” This invitation offers dignity to those who are impoverished. Jesus refuses to reduce the poor to their poverty; he recognizes that the universal human striving for transcendence, for meaning, and for purpose do not vanish when hunger sets in. After all, many of the world’s great spiritual insights have come from people who were desperately poor by modern standards. The sturdiness of human dignity in the face of material insecurity demands that we act to relieve poverty whenever and wherever we can.

– Matthew Croasmun
Let Me Ask You a Question

From pages 59-60 of Let Me Ask You a Question: Conversations with Jesus by Matthew Croasmun. Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Croasmun. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you worry? How does today’s reading speak to your worrying? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

2 Corinthians 12:5, NRSV

This Week: pray an increase of love of neighbor. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Thomas (July 3).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller July 6, 2018, 5:11 am

    I can’t say that I don’t worry, but I can say that I worry a lot less. God has gotten me through tough times and I hope that has instilled a confidence in God.

    Thankful for a good trip on a hot day to see my daughter and granddaughters.
    Had a good time with them in the swimming pool, saw Oona jump into her Dad’s arms, swam with Willa, saw her go off the diving board and swim in the deep end. Later she caught frogs and played with a device she assembled that sends marbles on a roller coaster. Will see what today brings. Have a trip home before the day ends.

    So much catching up to do with the posts here, thankful there are so many to read. Continued prayers for every need, thanks for all your joys, God is with us, thank You, Lord, we most certainly need you.

    Blessings to all, stay cool,and may your day go well.

  • Jill July 6, 2018, 5:45 am

    I used to worry a whole lot. I don’t believe I do now…or if I notice it, I turn to prayer. If we truly desire His will – we are assured His care and love, despite circumstances. The crux of the matter is can we step outside of what is occurring and into the liminal space where He exists and calls us to. Supreme trust, counter intuitive faith.
    Grateful to hear of Robert’s time with his daughter and grandchildren. Safe travels on your return trip. Grateful for time with my dad yesterday morning, and to sense his encouraging positivity. Grateful for a Bible-bathed session with my counselor yesterday, bookended by prayer.
    God is good.

  • Betsy July 6, 2018, 6:52 am

    I come from a long line of “worriers “ in my family. My mother often expressed her worry over our activities as children and as we grew into young adulthood. I often find myself slipping into that role with my circumstances. I turn to prayer to help dispel that feeling of helplessness that comes with nagging worry. God is in control and will lift this burden from me. We have seen the work of his hands here among the faithful believers!
    Grateful for a small break in the oppressive heat this day. Praying for those who must work outside in these conditions. Keep them safe. Lord.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 6, 2018, 7:10 am

    When i worry, i commit the matter into God’s hands. God is bigger than any of our problems.

    Grateful for the end of a fruitful week. Working tomorrow to prepare for the new week ahead.

    Praise God for a good colleague and my parents’s good health!

    Blessings to all!

    Have a great weekend!

  • Julie July 6, 2018, 8:02 am

    I also come from a long line of worriers. I find that people worry, no matter how much they trust and believe the Word and God. It is human nature to be concerned when someone we love or we ourselves are in danger. Sometimes the danger is physical, sometimes financial, and sometimes it is relational, etc., etc.. We struggle to turn over our lives and trust completely.
    Prayers of thanks for a joy filled visit for Robert and his family. Prayers for a safe trip.
    Prayers of thanks for Jill’s time with her father and a successful counseling session.
    Prayers of thanks for the end of a work week for Mary with a new collegue who has been helpful. Prayers of thanks for her parents good health. Prayers for a weekend of rest and time to do something fun.
    Prayers for Betsy and for relief from the heat.
    Prayers for Marcy, may her pain and breathing ease.
    Prayers and blessings and thank you for all the warm and loving UR family

  • Connie July 6, 2018, 8:04 am

    I guess I do “worry” too much, but I look at it as someone has to deal with worrisome things. So I take off my rose-colored glasses and look at the reality. However, I know God has our lives in His hands.
    Thankful that:
    Robert is having a relaxing time.
    Glad Jill had a relaxing time, too, with her Dad.
    Betsy and Mary shared their thoughts.

  • Andrea July 6, 2018, 12:07 pm

    I am a worrier at times. This reflection puts it in perspective. I wonder if being materialistically comfortable lends itself to more worry? The reflection’s reminder to help the poor is important. Indeed, that is one of the main messages in Jesus’ life and ministry.

    I pray for my family and friends and for my neighbor in the broadest sense. Prayers for UR dear friends and all the prayer requests expressed. Prayers for the Thai boys trapped in a cave, for their safe rescue and for the safety of their rescuers. It sounds like the rescue will start very soon and I hope all the pray warriors in the world will be on active duty as it unfolds. Prayers for the children and parents torn from each other, for their physical and emotional safety and for their reunification. Prayers for calm, rational, respectful discourse in US politics and society.

    Thank you, God, for answered prayers.

  • Marcy July 6, 2018, 7:47 pm

    I guess I just continue to lean into God every day as Matthew 6:25-34 leads us to do. This well-known passage is one I turn to often, along with Philippians 4:4-9. Yes, I still worry about the future to a certain extent, but the worrying doesn’t change it. I’ve had my SNAP benefits cut to $66.00 a month some time ago and only receive a small amount of SSI for disability because of the ex’s mishandling of financial issues. I really don’t know how much more can be taken from me, while the really, really rich get richer, but I gotta let it go, and let God. Matthew 6:27 – “And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” No! And stress certainly is no help!

    I have added to my pains by taking a fall in the kitchen yesterday, as dizziness from the migraine hit unexpectantly. I try not to walk around too much when I have them, but if I don’t stay hydrated, it’s even worse. I get dizzy even when I’m lying down! I had to crawl on the hard linoleum flooring (no carpeting) to the recliner to get up because my right shoulder is shot. Nothing serious, my right knee, hip area and shoulder has been rubbed with Biofreeze and I’ll have a limp for the next couple of days and a few bruises. Sigh! I continually pray in patience and trusting God.

    I praise God for – Robert enjoying time with his daughter and grandkids, Oona and Willa – Jill’s golf outing with her Dad, Larry and her counseling sessions and prayer – Betsy’s giving her worries to God – Mary’s parents good health and the valuable help of her new colleague – Julie’s new lawyer and the company of her daughter – Connie’s reliance on God and giving pain into His hands – Andrea’s encouraging words each day, through thick and thin. You are all good examples of our faith and thank you for sharing! You are all in my prayers, individually and as family.

    Praying for ALL the UR family, those who visit and beyond for any and all concerns; they are known by God!

    And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE! God’s Love is faithful and true!

    • robert moeller July 8, 2018, 5:14 am

      Very thankful you made it through the ordeal caused by the migraine, have read the apple cider vinegar on a cold cloth is helpful for migraines. I know when I had them I ‘d try almost anything to get them to stop.

      Praying for healing, resources, and well being. Thankful God sees you through
      day by day, I keep praying with and for you. God’s blessing on you.

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