“Whenever there are competing concerns in your life, be sure you always put your relation to God first.” — Oswald Chambers
What did Matthew McConaughey’s iconic character David Wooderson have in common with Jesus Christ? Nothing you say? I beg to differ.
Imagine the Apostle Matthew, a former tax collector (and probably the one most likely to be worried about the money), expressing concern to Jesus that they didn’t have enough coin to cover dinner one night. Now imagine Jesus looking at him and telling him not to worry but to just keep on “livin’” as he then spells out “L-I-V-I-N?” Jesus looks at Luke and says, “Don’t worry. I’ve got this.” I can almost see Jesus give a wry smile as he looks at his disciples and breaks out into an, “Alright, alright, alright” before turning some bread into a a succulent dinner and some vinegar into a 1992 Screaming Eagle cabernet. (The world’s most expensive wine at $500,000 a bottle. I had to look that one up.)
No Jesus didn’t do that, and I’m sorry for the comparison to McConaughey, but the analogy is still there. Jesus was laid back and he told us to be the same when it came to our view of our place in the world. Jesus was clear in his teaching not to worry about what’s going on with our lives. In fact, those who heard him teach about the cares of the world in the Sermon on the Mount probably looked at him like many of us look at McConaughey as Wooderson in the movie Dazed and Confused.
The world is a difficult place. It’s not always the most hospitable for us. Whether its financial, health, employment, marital, family, spiritual, or any number of areas of life that have us consumed with fear and worry, it is Christ that must always be our rally point, and it is Christ that frees us from the anxiety that life can create within us. Christ was pretty good when it came to addressing stress and he wanted us to be as well.
“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matt. 6:27.
The concerns of the world, physical consumer things (stuff) consume or dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, (Matt. 6:32) but we as believers must seek the Kingdom of God above all else, live righteously, and God will provide everything we need. Matt. 6:33. This idea is in conflict with the part of me that wants to be more and provide more for my family, but according to Christ the most important thing I can provide my family is the example of a man who seeks first the Kingdom of God.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matt. 6:34.
In all the troubles of this life, it is seeking after God and His Kingdom that trumps all other interests and purposes. God doesn't tell us there won’t be trouble or obstacles in our way, but He does tell us there’s no value in worrying about them. Christ gives us permission to allow trouble to happen without letting it consume us by placing our faith and purpose in Him, not in the world.
My mother was always quick to remind me not to borrow trouble from tomorrow, and I’ve used that statement many times with clients as they face some of the most difficult circumstances of their lives. Today has enough trouble of its own, let’s not borrow from tomorrow. However, Jesus taught there’s no reason to worry for anything, and in that way, he and Wooderson had some commonality. Just keep on livin’ for God. L-I-V-I-N.