Jesus doesn’t want us to waste time worrying. In St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus used a significant chunk of his Sermon on the Mount to address worry. He said, “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” (See MT 6:24-34 for the whole message. Spend some time with it; it’s worth studying.) In Luke’s Gospel, Martha tried to get Jesus to tell her sister to stop listening to the conversation and help serve the guests, but Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion; which shall not be taken away from her.” (LK 10:41-42).
Admit it now; you spend a lot of your time being Martha, don’t you? I know that I do. One look at my calendar for the week can send me scurrying about the house or my office, making lists, worrying, picking things up, worrying, drafting memos to my staff, worrying, rehearsing, and worrying, worrying, worrying. Fretting about the future seems to be the Great American Pastime. But it’s such a waste of valuable Christian moments.
In most cases, the things we’re worrying about never come to pass. Even when the worst happens, we come through the other side and are better for the experience. A few years ago, I was dreading losing a job. Sure enough; I lost that job. It was a rotten job, and shortly after I lost it, I found a much better one. What did the worrying add to the mix? Nothing; except a little indigestion.
If anyone in the world’s history had a right to worry, it would have been Jesus. He knew how his story was going to end. If you knew someone was going to arrest you for a crime you didn’t commit, humiliate you in front of the entire city, beat you while your friends all ran away and then nail you to a tree until you died…maybe you could worry. But, until the evening it actually happened, Jesus was laughing with his friends and going about his business. He had things to do and worrying was not going to help get those things done.
God knows how much we can handle and He knows what we need. He gives us just enough of both. Enough food and shelter to get through the day and enough challenges to help us grow. We have the ability to put more on our plate; more food or more troubles. In both cases, all we are accomplishing is making ourselves less fit for our mission.
So don’t worry. Be happy. God said so