Rev. Doug Johnson, Senior Pastor, Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Huntington, WV
Once there was a man who worried all the time about everything. He was a chronic worrier. Then one day his friends saw him whistling. “Can that be our friend? No, it can’t be. Yes it is!” They asked him, “What happened?”
“I’m paying a man to do my worrying for me,” he replied.
“You mean you aren’t worrying anymore?” they asked.
“No,” said the man. “Whenever I’m inclined to worry, I just let him do it.”
“How much do you pay him?”
“Two thousand dollars a week.”
“Wow! How can you afford that?”
“I can’t. But that’s his worry.”
Worry is something that we all are faced with. Statisticians at the University of Wisconsin have studied the things human beings worry about. They found that the average individual’s worries can be divided into four categories: First, there are the things that never happen, which constitute 40 percent of our worries. Second, there are things in the past that couldn’t be changed by all the worry in the world, and they are another 30 percent of the total. Third, there are petty worries and needless worries, which are 22 percent. Fourth, there are legitimate worries, and these are only 8 percent of the whole.
So how do we handle the 8 percent of worries that are legitimate? Well, the man in the story definitely handled it the wrong way! Jesus taught in Matthew 6:31-34, “Do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NIV)
Jesus was teaching His disciples to live one day at a time–not to worry about tomorrow but live today to its fullest. You see, worry produces doubt in a threefold direction: (1) God’s love is doubted. Worry implies that He cares little for His blood-washed children. (2) God’s wisdom is doubted. Worry indicates that He is not able to plan for His own, that He does not know what is best for them who belong to Him. (3) God’s power is doubted. Worry says His grace is not sufficient for our needs. If we would simply learn to trust in God’s ability to take care of us we could save ourselves a lot of stress!
In 1871, a young medical student was worrying. Then one day he read twenty-one words that changed his life. The twenty-one words were written by Thomas Carlyle: “Our main business is not to see what dimly lies at a distant, but to do what clearly lies at hand.” Later the young man founded the Johns Hopkins University and was the Regis Professor of Medicine at Oxford University. The young man was Sir William Oscar.
So take this day that God has given you and put your whole heart into it. Focus on the tasks at hand. Don’t waste precious time and energy worrying over the past or things that may never happen. Give your worries to God– He is well able to deal with them. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Remember, God is already there!