April 1, 2010
Declare Worry Bankruptcy
by John UpChurch, Editor, Jesus.org
"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Matthew 6:34, MSG
I take comfort in marking things as being read. Email, RSS feeds, they all seem so much tidier when they're no longer showing as unread on the computer screen. I can finally relax when I've worked my way through each of them (at least until the next batch comes in). Whether I actually have time to comprehend what I read is beside the point.
My streamlined system often falls apart, however. Insert a busy day here, toss in an Internet outage there, and all those unread items suddenly add up. My RSS reader jumps from a few dozen nuggets to over a thousand nagging headlines. Sometimes it even stops counting and just adds a big + beside the number as if taunting me with how far behind I've gotten.
Occasionally, I unsubscribe from a few of my feeds to help manage the load. But the temptation to add more becomes too great, and I'm back staring at the + again. Knowing I'll only fall farther and farther behind, I finally declare information bankruptcy. Instead of considering what I might be missing, I zap everything and start from zero.
Christ directs us to do something very similar to our worries.
In real life, there's no "worry reader" that pools our concerns about our job, our finances, or our family. We can't work through the list one by one and mark them off after we've examined them. In fact, worries seem to flood in together—a child gets sick, a spouse gets angry, a bill goes unpaid. Most of the time, our first thought isn't to look up to God, but to look ahead.
I'm convinced that one of the questions I ask myself the most is "Well, what will I do when …?" But asking that question (in any of its iterations) goes against what Christ instructed me to do. He didn't say, "Worry about what will happen tomorrow," or, "Worry about everything happening right now." He said, "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now."
In other words, declare worry bankruptcy. Focusing our entire attention on God and His actions in our lives nullifies the churning and grinding in the gut.
So what is God doing right now? Well, you're alive and reading this. The offer of being with God forever still applies. You can whip out His love letters to us in book or electronic form (i.e., the Bible). And He's never asleep or taking a break from being in charge.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Declaring bankruptcy on our worries doesn't mean being irresponsible; in fact, Christ means the opposite. Focusing on the God-present (what God is doing right now) keeps our "worry reader" empty and our throat-constricting doubts to a minimum.