2. In God We Trust: Even Though I’m Worried [Matthew 6:25-34] - Bryan Long

#InGodWeTrust Series 
  • There’s no doubt we are living in unstable and turbulent times, but there has never been a better time choose to have all-out trust in our God. For our culture, the topic of money and giving is one of the most difficult things to address, yet the Bible speaks abundantly on it. We have been created to say with tremendous faith, “I trust in you, Lord...my times are in your hand!”
2.  In God We Trust: Even Though I’m Worried [Matthew 6:25-34] 
  • God provides for even our smallest of needs. “For tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Sermon Preparation Guide
  • Importance - What are the central ideas of this text?
    • God cares about His children and knows our needs. (Matthew 6:28, 30, 32 & 33)
    • God requires our full allegiance, and promises to provide for our needs. (Matthew 6:33)
    • Worrying about money and possessions reveals a lack of faith in God; so trust Him and don't worry! (Matthew 6:25, 27, 30, 33)
  • Implications - What questions should the listener be asking?
    • Why does God care about you, and how does He know your needs?
    • What does it mean to seek first after God's Kingdom and His righteousness?
    • Are you a worrier about money and possessions? Why? On what basis can you stop worrying?
Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
  • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
    • Why can one not focus on both money and on God? (see Matthew 6:19-24)
    • Why did Jesus right away speak about being anxious about money and possessions after just having said that one cannot serve both God and money?
    • What does it mean to be anxious about your life? And about food, drink and clothing?
    • What did Jesus mean when He said, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)
    • How do the examples of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field speak to our view of money and how we deal with it?
    • What are the reasons Jesus gives why we should not worry about money and possessions?
    • What is the Kingdom of God? (Matthew 6:33)
    • What is God's righteousness? (Matthew 6:33)
    • What does Jesus mean by saying that “tomorrow will be anxious for itself?” (Matthew 6:34)
  • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
    • Do you focus on money and possessions? Be honest. How do you focus on those things?
    • What would it look like to you to “serve money?”
    • Are you anxious about, and do you worry about, money and possessions? Why?
    • Why should you not worry about money and possessions?
    • What is your responsibility as has to do with money and possessions, and how can you carry out your responsibilities without worrying about money and possessions?
    • Can you think of an example of how God cares for something that teaches you how much He cares for you?
    • How should and how can you see first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Try to be specific in steps you should take, than pray about taking those steps.
    • Do you worry about tomorrow? How can you stop worrying about tomorrow and why should you?
    • Do you trust God to provide for your needs? Be honest. To the extent you find you come up short on trust, confess that to God and ask Him for His help in putting your trust fully in His providing for you. You may find that you have to keep asking for His help over many days. Ask Him for the spiritual strength to put into practice in your life what this passage teaches about trusting in God for necessities, money and possessions.
Sermon Teaching Notes (as prepared by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
In the prior Notes, we saw that recognizing that God owns everything from beginning to end, renouncing our own ownership of anything, and instead recognizing that we are stewards of that which He chooses to entrust into our care, is part and parcel of trusting in God. But there is further to go along the road of trusting in God, and that includes dealing with the matter of worry.

Near the beginning of His ministry on earth, Jesus preached what we call the “Sermon on the Mount.” It appears from Scripture that the matters Jesus touched on in His sermon were things He spoke about often and in multiple places, and that the Sermon may have included much more than is present in the gospel of Matthew, and likely was taught over a several day period. However, it is sufficient to state that the content of the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew's gospel (and a shorter version in the gospel of Luke) is the words of Jesus and stands on its own as a most significant statement of the principles of the Kingdom of heaven and how we should live on earth as citizens of the kingdom. The sermon, which is not really a sermon in the sense that we today think of a sermon but is rather a series of teachings (cf. Matthew 5:2a), was given to “the crowds” and, more specifically, to His disciples (Matthew 5:1). The “crowds” were the mass of people who had begun following Jesus in light of the miracles He had been doing, and the teaching He had been giving. Thus, the crowd included a broad cross-section of people, from the Pharisees and religious leaders who were checking Him out for His bona fides, to those who were skeptical but interested in a show, to everyone in between. Certainly the crowd included those were were more than intrigued by His words, and were thinking that He was some kind of prophet and special man of God given that He had performed miraculous works. But notwithstanding the variety of people in the crowd and the variety of their responses to Jesus, they were all folk who were living out their day-to-day lives, and though there were undoubtedly some who were rich, most of them would have had little but the basic necessities of life. In short, most of these folk were living one day to the next, or what today we might call “paycheck to paycheck.” Money was an issue, as were possessions, making ends meet, and providing food for the table. Theirs was a constant struggle.

So Jesus taught about the Kingdom of heaven; yet, what he had to say was absolutely relevant to where the crowd lived, to their lives. And what Jesus was saying was that the Kingdom of heaven was bigger, in a sense; that once one entered into the Kingdom of heaven, their call was to live differently on earth, approaching all of life with the values and principles of the Kingdom, no matter that on the surface, it might seem not to make sense at least from the world's perspective. Thus, Jesus spoke about anger and reconciliation, about divorce and remarriage, about adultery and purity, about oaths, about personal injury and self-sacrifice, about hatred and love, about religious hypocrisy. And he also spoke about ... you guessed it, money (referred to as “treasures on earth” Matthew 6:19). Jesus stated the Kingdom principle in no uncertain terms: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.” (Matthew 6:19) He noted that treasure is transitory; that it can be lost, destroyed or stolen; that it doesn't last. Instead, He said, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matthew 6:20) This type of treasure is eternal; it lasts. So there it is, the material versus the spiritual; and His command is that we not focus on the material, but instead focus on the spiritual. And He went on to underscore the statement by saying that one cannot have both; one can only serve one master, not two, and “you cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) There it is – the choice. It's either God and His Kingdom, or it's money. One who is to follow Jesus as His disciple, in other words, must be all in, fully submitted to the way and reign of the King, the way of Jesus.

“But,” says the everyday person, “Even if I follow you, I'm still worried about money 'cause I need it to get along, I need it for food and shelter; I have to have it!” If the question wasn't asked out loud as Jesus spoke, it was surely on the minds of the crowd of people. And Jesus knew it and spoke to it and said, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.” (Matthew 6:25) Food, drink and clothing. Three big worries, and all of them required money. So Jesus says, “don't sweat it!” (the more modern version!) And before the next question can be uttered, namely, “But why shouldn't I worry? I need money for these things!” Jesus provided the answer again. He told them to look at the birds who don't plant or reap, “yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26) and then added “Are you not of more value than they?” But he doesn't leave it there. To provide more substance for why they shouldn't worry, he told them to look at the lilies of the field (common wildflowers of His day) and to note how beautiful they were even though they would be gathered up and burned. And if God “clothes” those wildflowers in such beautiful colors, won't he take care of you and your clothing? (Matthew 6:28-30). But He also added a very pragmatic point which was being anxious won't add a day to a person'e life; anxiety about one's provisions for life won't provide. (Matthew 6:27)

Altogether, Jesus admonished them, and He admonished us not to worry about money and possessions, whether they be bare necessities or luxuries. Just don't worry about that stuff. To worry about “that stuff” means that possessions – getting them and having them – are not to be the focus of the Kingdom citizen. And the basis for that is that the King Himself, who gave us life and a body, will take care of us, and provide for what we need. To worry, then, is to show a lack of faith in God, both in His ability to provide and His willingness to provide. Such Kingdom living is thus qualitatively different than the life of the unbeliever. The believer, by being a child of the God of the universe, has One who provides. Note that Jesus is not saying that believers should just sit back and wait for God to drop things into their laps; He is not advocating idleness or laziness. Rather, He is saying that God knows what we need, and as we do what we can to earn money and find provision, He will make it available and thus He will provide.

Moreover, Jesus said that not only are we not to worry, instead we are to seek after God's Kingdom and His righteousness. In other words, we are to enter into His Kingdom through Jesus, becoming a child of God upon confession of sin and submission to the Lordship of Jesus, then live out the Kingdom life in full submission to His will and purposes, and finally, spread the good news of His Kingdom to others, inviting them into the Kingdom. And He adds that as we seek His Kingdom, “all these things will be added to” us (Matthew 6:33). There's the promise; seek God and His righteousness and He will provide for you. So “Don't worry!” Worry deals with tomorrow and what might or might not come, and in fact will not even affect tomorrow which is in God's hands in any case. God will provide for you today out of His love and grace; and His love and grace will be there tomorrow. Do, “don't worry today!” Work your job, pay your bills, be wise the way you spend, save so you can give, and trust God for your provision because He will not let you down!

Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If you do, you are indeed a child of God, and God loves you and, as you seek after Him and follow His will, He will provide for you. How will He provide for you? Through your own working and earning a paycheck; through programs that help people; through the help of others; or even through miraculous means. The point of it all is to trust in God for your needs, and focus on His Kingdom as the center of your life, seeking to live out the reality and the principles of the Kingdom in your life through His working in you (cf. Philippians 2:12 & 13). God takes care of even the birds and the flowers; you are much more valuable to Him as you are a human being made in His image. Do you believe that? And do you believe that He will provide for you? Well, He will provide as you seek after Him. And you can take that to the bank! So ... Don't worry!