“Do not worry”, said Jesus to his disciples. Easier said than done, you may think. There is, after all, so much that we could worry about: our health, our children (which doesn’t stop when they leave home), work, finances, flying, living, dying… The list goes on. But, if Jesus told us not to worry, he must think that it is actually possible not to worry and, presumably, that we have a choice whether to worry or not. So how can we not worry?
There is the familiar World War 1 song which follows Jesus’ sentiments when it asks ‘What’s the use of worrying? It tells us to ‘pack up our
troubles in our old kit bag and smile’. I think this song has part of the answer. Identifying our troubles or worries, and packing them away seems like a good idea. I’m not so sure, though, about packing them in my old kit bag if that means I have to carry them around with me on my back. I don’t think that’s what Jesus intended!
St Peter gave some good advice. He said ‘Cast all your cares on Jesus, for he cares for you’ (1 Peter 3:5). At the heart of this is the truth that Jesus cares for you, a truth that will disperse all the gloom and worry if we take it on board. Jesus died on a cross for all the sin and rubbish in our lives and, while the things we worry about are important in themselves, worrying about them is definitely part of the rubbish he died for. Jesus cares for you.
Jesus also gave some advice after he told his disciples not to worry. He told them that, instead of worrying, they were to ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God’. Worrying will distract us from the good things of God’s Kingdom that we can be doing. But the opposite is also true. Choosing to think and do the good things that are part of his Kingdom will take our minds away from the things we are worrying about.
So, pack up your troubles, place them at the cross of Jesus and turn round to face the abundant life he offers. Easier said than done? Maybe. But it is still doable, step by step.
Theophilus is the guy for whom Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) Theophilus means ‘Lover of God’ so, if you love God, it was written for you!