“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear….” Matthew 6:25…
“Don’t worry,” Jesus said to his anxious disciples in a time of great social and economic volatility. Rome was pillaging, people were scarcely making it day to day, and the tensions of revolt were in the air. Yet, Jesus tells the masses “do not worry.” Of course, he does not stop there. He unfolds for them what it means to walk by faith, prayerfully trusting God to be God, even in the face of uncertainty. Jesus taught them “as one with authority” about not turning inward, of outward focused love, generosity and kindness as a way of life. Wow!
Jesus’ words are hardly platitudes. They contain immeasurable wisdom. Worry diminishes our capacity to live. Worry accomplishes nothing positive, presents no solutions, and costs much in terms of health and wellbeing. I’m not being flip, I do understand the reality of anxiety in uncertain times. I have been there too. It is hard not to worry when everything you see and hear in the media tells you that you should be mightily concerned. Fire and storms rage, global conflict and economic chaos eat up the airways and cyberspace. As I write this, we are in the midst of the worst stock market turmoil perhaps since the 1930s; however, today the Dow rebounded. Will it last? Don’t know. So, don’t worry?
Exactly, don’t worry, be wise. Slow down, take a breath and make calm, clear, and well researched thoughtful financial and life decisions. Avoid the rash gut reaction of turning inward. I believe living a life of faith has a lot to do with how we walk on the uneven ground of uncertain times. In my experience, and if history is a good teacher, when people of faith respond to uncertain times by keeping their focus outward, serving, sharing, and meeting challenges with grace, amazing things happen.
Consider Katrina. We are marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It would be hard to forget the images of massive devastation, loss of life and suffering. But do you remember how people of faith responded? We responded by reaching out, serving, sharing and meeting what where truly overwhelming challenges with grace! Volunteers from Lutheran Churches and our ecumenical partners met the crisis by stepping up and jumping in. Ordinary people of faith from all over the country became the volunteer army that mucked out the flooded homes, rebuilt neighborhoods and restored hope. People of faith working prayerfully in absolute trust that God was working through them became the muscle and midwife of the rebirth in New Orleans. In fact, the work continues ten years later. Amazingly, that’s how God has always worked, through ordinary people willing to walk by faith with eyes and hearts focused outward.
So, if you’re wondering how to get through these uncertain times, don’t worry, be wise and prayerfully focus outward, serving, sharing, and meeting the challenges with grace. I promise you, amazing things will happen.