In the epic Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the apostles the value of not worrying about things (i.e., food, clothing, beverages). He gave examples of how Jehovah clothes the earth in vegetation, feeds the animals, yet great men like Solomon in their glory don’t stack up against the natural handiwork of Jehovah. The principle was that if God provides for creation outside of man, why should man worry about the bare necessities? If he does that for flora and fauna, how much more will he do for us?
I recently came across an image from a prominent Southern Pentecostal preacher who, as part of a yearly church campaign, promoted the idea, “If it is big enough to worry about, it is big enough to pray about.” Now, I get the gist of his statement. If we are so concerned about something in our lives that it causes us unrest, then we should take it to God in prayer. However, this preacher/pastor missed the importance that semantics and word play have on the human existence. It is for this very reason that Jesus was always careful in how he constructed his response to anyone that asked him a question. Words do matter and can either bring life or death because there is such power in the tongue!
If we look at the passage of Philippians 4:6-7, we find the apostle Paul teaching us that we are to not, “worry about anything; instead, pray about everything [emphasis added]. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” I do believe that our dear brother was trying to convey this message in regards to his church campaign, but what does it say to his congregation, others, and the world at large? Does he realize that he inadvertently condoned the sin of worrying by stating that “if something is worth worrying about”?
Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount and Pauline letter to Philippi both confirm by the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses that we ARE NOT to worry about anything! Instead, when a matter starts to trouble us, STOP AND TAKE IT TO THE LORD IN PRAYER! It is the act of prayer to Jehovah that causes us to “experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
Father, thank you for showing me the truth of the Scriptures. I do understand that people have good intentions and try to convey a godly point, but our words do matter. They either align with your word (life) or are misaligned with it (death) as brought about by the tongue. I often remember the adage taught me by my fourth-grade math teacher, “Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion.” Now I’ve not always adhered to that principle, but it can and does make a difference when I do. Help me to apply that in conjunction with your Word of not worrying about anything and instead bring it to you. It reminds me of the hymn, “Take your burdens to the LORD and leave them there.” I trust you to provide and lead the way. The apostle Pete said to humble ourselves before you and cast (violently throw) our cares upon you because you care for us. May this will of yours be done, not ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.