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141 - Why Pray When You Can Worry?

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2023 1:00 pm

141 - Why Pray When You Can Worry?

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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April 8, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 141 - Why Pray When You Can Worry? (8 April 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City


You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink.

Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages. Welcome to More Than Ink. Worry, worry, worry. I mean, what does it get you? Oh, it gets you high blood pressure and indigestion and ulcers, sleepless nights.

Yeah, not very productive. Well, today as we look at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says there's an alternative. You don't have to worry, and we'll see it today on More Than Ink. Good morning. This is Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us here on More Than Ink, and we're walking our way through the Sermon on the Mount. We're going through the whole book of Matthew, but we're on the Sermon on the Mount. Yeah, we're moving pretty fast.

This is rich stuff right here, and this is really great. Like I said last time, probably the most famous words of Jesus is what we've been reading for this week and for the next couple of weeks. And so we do get jaded. We say, wait, I've heard this before. I mean, we looked at the Lord's Prayer last week.

I mean, almost everybody knows that. But everything here bears just a closer and slower inspection and turn on parts of your brain cells you've never turned on when you've read it before. And that's what we're going to do is we're here in the middle of chapter six in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, just about at exactly the halfway point in the Sermon on the Mount. And he's going to focus on looking toward the future. Can I say it that way?

Okay. Well, that's fair because in the first part of this chapter, Jesus had said a lot about rewards, right? Well, a reward is something you earn that you look towards it. So now he's going to shift gears and talk about treasure. Where is your special, where's your lovely thing that your attention is focused on?

What are you looking for? Yeah. And yeah, when you have a treasure, that's where your heart is. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Oh, you're in the passage already. Shall we read?

Well, join us if you may. We're in chapter six, verse 19. And it helps if you follow along in the ESV version because that's what we're reading. Just so you don't get too tongue tied trying to translate on the fly.

Make the new two translations sync up. Here we go. Verse 19.

Okay. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Yeah, stop there. Okay, I gotta stop there because while I'm reading that out loud, I am remembering that in the church where I grew up, this passage was recited as they brought the offering plates down to pass. No kidding. Really? Really? And so I grew up thinking that this was about how much you could put in the offering plate.

How much you put in the offering plate represented the treasures you were storing up in heaven. And I had kind of forgotten that until I was just reading it just now. So that's a poor application.

I think so. So that's not what Jesus is talking about. But he has been talking about reward and something that's forward looking. So sorry, that's a total distraction.

That's incredible. But you know, where your treasure is there your heart will be also. So dump that money in the offering plate. Yeah, right. But what Jesus is really aiming at is the Shema, love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength, that is your treasure.

He is your treasure. Yeah. And in this in this materialist culture that we live in, I mean, we are very rich, comparatively, not just worldwide, but in the time span of man, I mean, we're very rich. And so we end up never really feeling like we have enough. We are very materialistic.

And although we have what we have, we want more. In fact, I remember we never satisfied studies long time ago, they asked people who had certain incomes, how much income would you need to have in order to finally kind of get saying, you know, and regardless of the income range, like if they made a low amount of money, they always thought if I had twice as much money that would do it right. And then you go to someone who may be owned earned maybe 10 times with that poor people does and says, What would it take for you and they wouldn't say, Well, I've got enough right now. They'll say, Well, about this much, it was twice as much and more regardless of what you had. Everyone thinks if I have twice as much as I have, everything will be fine. So we're very materialistic core. And those are treasures on earth.

And I'll just give a caveat. There's nothing wrong with wealth. There's nothing wrong with the stuff material stuff that we use.

I mean, we need a house to live in stuff like that. Yeah, the problem is, is that this stuff is not bad, but it's not that doesn't have lasting. It's temporary. It's temporary. So why why use all of your mindshare trying to figure out how to increase the things that are temporary? Jesus told an interesting parable about that the guy who said, you know, I need a bigger barn, the barn dude, right?

You all can look that up. You need a bigger barn. And then the Lord said to him, you know, hey, tonight, your soul is going to be required of you, right? What you don't need is a bigger barn application. So here, he's really making the point about the fact that as you're looking toward the future, even the immediate future, don't get that hung up on this stuff. But but look to the future.

There's nothing wrong with that. But look way in the future treasures in heaven. And no, not just treasures on earth, because treasures on earth, this stuff is temporary. I mean, moths eat all your clothes, rust eats all your iron. I mean, the stuff that's here decays and thieves take it so it's not secure. I mean, this stuff that's here is really just sort of passing.

Well, so don't commit your life to it. We're talking about the kingdom, right? And we have learned to pray to our Heavenly Father, right? Your kingdom come. And then we read that passage in Colossians, it says, you know, your father will give you the reward of the inheritance, you will inherit the kingdom.

Yeah, yeah. So that's where we need to be investing. So don't set your sights so low on this stuff on this stuff. And then he has that great, great line in 21, where your treasure is, that's where your heart's gonna be. So whatever it is you treasure, what you find is being, you know, the most valuable in your life, your heart's gonna be invested there. So you got to watch out, you got to watch out because then you'll actually commit and worship these things with your heart. And that's just way out of whack. So where is your treasure on deposit?

Yeah. And it begs the question when he says, you know, it's kind of a swap, you know, swap storing up things on earth, swap it for things in heaven. But it begs the question, what are those treasures in heaven that we need to lay up? And he doesn't really, he doesn't really, you know, talk about that much right here. And we could talk a lot about it.

But well, he is gonna lead into it a little bit. So just hold on to that thought for a second. And let's read on.

Yeah, 22. Okay. The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.

If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness? Yes, no one can serve two masters for either he'll hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Hmm. Okay, so or, or we commonly hear you cannot serve God and mammon mammon stuff. So those are connected, right? You can't just take this little part about the eye out because it comes in between where your treasure is and there you will your heart be.

And then you can you can't serve two masters. Right, sir. God and stuff. Yeah, like the last thing the money thing is actually fulfillment of the first thing that that's the treasures now. Right. So what is this eye is the lamp of the body thing in the middle? Well, you know, if your eye is the means by which you see things and understand what they are, what they are in reality. Yeah. So you know, if your eye is good, and you see things as they really are, according to truth, when that's good, your whole body will be full of light, you're going to live a certain way. Yeah. But if your eyes bad, you're going to see things in a twisted manner and value them incorrectly.

Yes. I Okay, I think that's the thing value them incorrectly. Because many times he talks about the process of coveting something is you see it, right, you see it first, and your heart says, I want it, I'm going to take it right. So when you see something and you value it, like it fits in these categories of this temporary stuff, and you value it, then a whole bunch of bad things happen after that you pursue it amazing thought about that just the light bulb went on, you know, that's what happened to even the garden. It is exactly right. That fruit was presented as good and tasty and separated from the Word of God, who had said donated because you'll die.

Right. And so Eve disregarded what God had said, and she saw, this is good for here. Now it's tasty. It's gonna make me wise. It's good for me. I don't have to listen to what God said. So her I went bad.

Her I went that moment. Oh, I just never made that connection before. That's right. Be careful what you wish for is basically what this is saying in your eyes telling you what to wish for. And you know, if you see if you're a moderate income or poor income, and you see a rich person go by and you see him driving like a big car, you see something that you say, you know, I want that lifestyle. You're going to jump right into the last section here where you're actually saying, I think I think I'll make money my God, I think if I pursue that, and it's your eye that started you on that process. And so if your eye is dark, then what it does it creates inside you a great darkness, this coveting for things that just don't count. Boy, that takes us back into earlier in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus was talking about if your eye offends you, offends you.

Yes, right. If you look on something and it causes you to sin, take your eye out. And here he's saying that first step, your eye is the lamp of the body. I mean, that how you look at those things and covet those things and pursue those things.

It you turn those things into your God, you actually worship them. That's where your heart will follow where your body will follow. Hey, that's a rule of driving. Look where you're going or you're gonna go where you're looking. Right?

Yeah. So in a way, in a way, those verses 22 to 23 are you know, be careful what you wish for. Because if you're wishing for the wrong thing, it's going to cause great darkness. So be careful what you fix your attention on. What you fix your eye on.

And then you will eventually fix your heart on, is what he says in the first part. And then it often manifests in terms of you pursuing money, is what he says here in the end. Or stuff, wealth. Accumulation is maybe a better idea.

Because money says, well, I just want to accumulate cash. Well, no, anything. Which is why he presses on into therefore I tell you in verse 25.

Right, it's a great connection. Don't be anxious about your life, what you'll eat, what you'll drink, about your body, what you'll put on. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Okay, so I want to just press all the way through that because he's talking about being anxious over stuff. I noticed that word. Yeah, how many times did he say that? I counted it. Five. He did it five times.

Five times. And he names food, clothing, future, events you can't control, how long your life is going to be. Yeah. And he says, you know, how much more will God clothe you, O you of little faith? Well, and see, that's the thing. That connects this back to who we think God is and who are we. And who we think we are in relation to him. Right. I mean, am I so undervalued by God that he's letting me just sit here and starve?

Right. So really, in the real process, behaviorally, when we look into our future, even if it's just like this week as opposed to next year or something like that, we always look at the threats to our existence. And for us, it's like, will I have a job? Will I have an income? You know, all those kinds of things.

Well, they did too, you know, and theirs is tied to crops. But there's always this anxiety because it's really easy to foresee how things could go bad. And you can really, your imagination is great at telling you about how really bad, bad, bad it could be. And so you slip really quickly in this anxiety because you understand that I can't control that. I can't control what's coming up, what's downstream.

Even stuff tomorrow, I can't control it. So you slip into this kind of, oh no, who's going to look out for my welfare? I better look out for my welfare, but I'm incapable of dealing with my welfare because I can't control the future. And so, you know, like we ask all the time when people tell us their problems, we say, so where's God in that whole picture? Is not God in the picture of your future and providing for you? And that's exactly what he's getting at here.

Of course he is. But we forget about the fact that we're a child of God. We're his and he values us and he looks at us and loves us intensely. And yet we act when we go into these anxiety fits about the future, like God just doesn't exist anymore and he doesn't care about us. Okay. So when you use the word anxiety, that's a little bit of a troubling word right now because we live in a time when people receive a medical diagnosis of anxiety and that is rooted in chemical imbalance and other things that are actually going on physically in the body. That's not what we're talking about.

No. Now there is a connection because we cannot separate our bodies from our minds and our spirits, but we're not talking about the medical condition of anxiety. So if you are listening to this and going, Oh, they're condemning me.

That is not what we're doing. What we're talking about here. Cause that's more of like a chemical sense of dread. What Jesus is talking about is a mindset, an attitude that is rooted in unbelief that God, your loving father will care for you and provide you what you need. In a sense kind of misplaced trust. I'm starting to trust myself rather than trusting God for my future. I'm not going to, I'm going to disbelieve what God has said to me.

Exactly. And I'm going to substitute my own idea of reality. Oh shoot, we're back in the garden with Eve again.

We're back in the garden. And when you come to, when you come to that position, you say, I'm not going to trust God for that future, for this future ambiguities. I'll trust myself. And you realize, I, you know, I'm not up for this task. I just can't control that much of the future. And so you, you really do start worrying. I mean, where will my food come from?

Where will anything happen? And you've, you've proclaimed yourself to be alone in the universe and God is not there with you anymore and he doesn't care and he doesn't love you. So you've really also missed the fact of how much he values you for you to pursue all these things. Well, and then, you know, then the sand under our feet, like in a standing on the beach begins to sift out from under our feet and we lose our footing on the solid word of God and we begin to drift. We begin to lose our balance when we are focused on what we might not have that might not be enough. And I've got to save up more stuff.

I need a bigger barn. Right? Right. That's why I say, you know, our imaginations are, are active enough to be able to, to come up with the worst scenarios in our mind.

I mean, it could be this bad. And if I don't do something right now to stop that, no one's going to advocate for me unless I advocate for me. Well, God's there to advocate for you.

He's there to do that. Indeed. Jesus has always said, he knows what you need before you ask him.

Before you even ask him. So, you know, I want to say this again, that the kind of worry we're talking about here is a mindset that's rooted in an attitude of unbelief. Yeah. Right. Because that's what Jesus said. Oh, you of little faith.

Yeah. So that actually makes me think of a beautiful picture that is back in Jeremiah 17. And I'm not going to look at the whole picture, but just listen to these words in Jeremiah 17, and eight says, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. So we've got both a verb and a noun for trust there. For he'll be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and it will not fear when the heat comes, but it's leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought or cease to yield fruit. It will not be anxious. Why?

Because the tap roots are driven down into the ground water that is not affected by the surface weather. Yeah. Okay. So he says, you know, at the very beginning there, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord. So when you trust in God, you lean your weight on him.

He's what he has said. But when you when your trust is the Lord, it's like he is your bank account. He is your treasure.

He is what you have stored up for the future. Right. So that, you know, not just what he can provide, but he himself, we have this act of trusting, even if the circumstances provide us with a year of drought, we have a tap root down into the trustworthiness of our God.

Yeah. And so that's, that's why I say Jesus is talking about this, this, this worry that is rooted in unbelief. But when we trust in the Lord, and trust him actively leading our weight on him, we will continue to be fruit and to be fruitful and to drink that groundwater.

Because to people looking at us like that tree, there's an unseen reality of stable, faithful source of life. Right. That the circumstances on the surface don't seem to understand an ability to be satisfied with very little or satisfied with what we have, right, because God has provided us with our daily bread, as we talked about in the previous passage. Give us today what we need, maybe my greatest need today is to be a little hungry, right, rather than to have a full meal on the table.

Maybe my greatest need is to go without a winter coat this year and get along on my patchy old one from last year. Right. So that I will learn humility, or I will learn thankfulness. Back to praying for your needs instead of your greed.

Am I willing to allow God to determine what I need? Yeah. And you make a good point. It's a daily dependence kind of thing.

It is. Because we talked about the barn guy several times before about how, you know, he was going to secure his future by putting stuff in the barn. But here, and even the examples he uses are short term day to day things. And so what he's telling us is that God is faithful enough in his love toward us that we can come to him every day and say, like maybe in a particular prayer, give us this day our daily bread. So what he wants to do is say, you have a resource and a loving father who is there to meet your daily needs. So make it your habit of coming to him for your daily needs, even as you look in the future and say, I don't know where my security for my life is going to be.

You can say, well, it's in God, so today I will again come back and take my trust and put it at his feet rather than kind of run around in the room with my hair on fire wondering how I'm going to get by. Yeah. And can I learn to define my need by what God has provided for me? Right.

Rather than the other way around. Yeah. Say God, I need, I need, I need, so give me.

Well, you know, your father has said, I'm going to give you what you need. Mm hmm. Right. And so can I say thankful for what God has given to me and define my need by what God has provided. Boy, that's a different way of looking through the telescope.

You're looking through the microscope. Yeah. Maybe what I have is enough. Yeah. Contentment maybe is the answer to the problem here.

Okay. Well, that leads us to a couple other passages. Yeah.

But contentment and also daily trust. And I mean, even we were talking about the barn guy talks about the birds. You don't see birds building barns because they depend on God's feeding on a daily basis. They do build a seasonal nest.

They do build a nest. Yeah. And there's nothing wrong with counting the cost and planning for the future.

But it turns out that what we really need to do is cultivate a sense of dependence on God day by day, moment by moment. Instead of dependent on our full closet and our comfy bank account. Or our big barns. Yeah. Or our deep pantry. Or our deep pantry. Right.

Where we live, people have a customary food storage of two years in their pantries. Yeah. It doesn't all get eaten.

It just has to be rotated and I've had it on good authority. A lot of it gets thrown away. Yeah. So his final admonition then is to seek something but not those things.

Is to seek his kingdom and his righteousness. And guess what? All those other things will be added to you. Right. They become secondary. They're not primary anymore. So seeking a kingdom. So this is really a great swap when it comes to dealing with our future and our security.

It's a great swap. Are you going to trust in yourself? You who are so weak to be able to control the future. And we already talked about that last time. You can't even add an hour to your life.

Yeah. I mean what are you thinking that you can do this? And that's why you go into these worry things.

Because you think you realize my imagination tells me how bad it is and my real kind of estimation of what I can do tells me I'm not up for the task. And so you go into this fit. If you're in this circumstance and maybe you're in that circumstance now, you need to stop and say but God is here. But God is here. I'll seek his kingdom, his righteousness.

That stuff will all come. And remember Jesus had said, you know what the way into the kingdom? Repent.

Turn to the way you're going. Right. And believe the king is here. Yeah. Right. Repent and believe. Repent and believe. Yeah.

It's back to relationship with the heavenly Father who loves you. Yeah. You need to do that. So in conclusion he says don't be anxious about tomorrow. Right. Because you know what? Tomorrow has got enough to be anxious about all by itself.

There's plenty there. Don't keep pulling up into your present. All the cumulative anxieties coming up down the road. You know because every day is sufficient for its own trouble. You need to just do this one day at a time. Don't get all messed up about the cumulative threats to your future based on all the days that are coming down the line.

Just deal with today. And in the daily sense ask God for your daily bread. And again daily seek first his kingdom.

Daily daily daily. You know remember that account of Jesus on the mountainside getting ready to feed the five thousand. And he looks out and the disciples are all in a tizzy.

Lord where are we going to get bread to feed all these people? And he says well you know what have you got? Yeah. Bring it to me.

Let's start from there. That's right. So you know I think that applies here. Yeah.

What do you have? Let's give thanks and it will be enough in the Lord. It could very well be God has already given it to you. Yeah. Yeah. And that's also a good watchword. Well this made me think also of a great line that Paul wrote to the Philippian church. Exactly the same topic. Exactly the same topic.

It's in Philippians 4, 6 and 7. He says so don't be anxious about anything. Right. Anything. Anything. Absolutely nothing.

Yeah don't be anxious about anything. But here's the alternative. But in everything by prayer and supplication, that's asking, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and guess what happens? The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Peace. And why can you be at peace? Because God's got this. He's in control.

But this is interesting. He doesn't say let your needs be made known to God and he'll give you what you ask for. No. Not here he doesn't.

Nope not here. Because he's talking about contentment and in that same passage a little earlier he says I've learned to be content. Oh no he's coming up to that.

He's coming up to that. Learned. But what he's saying here is that when you put your trust in God you can stop you know. Right. You can start, you can stop twisting all the time. Right. You can be at peace.

You can lay it down before him. And you say God I'm confident in your love for me. Your faithfulness toward me.

This is yours. I'm going to take a deep breath now and just be at peace and know that you're doing this. And the peace of God that surpasses understanding. Yeah.

Like beyond anything you could ever imagine when you give these things to God which just to make you twist in the wind suddenly life changes. Because he himself is our peace. Right. Right. And that Hebrew idea of peace is shalom. Well-being in the soul. Yeah. Yeah. So don't be anxious for anything. And then not only peace but that peace will guard your heart. Uh huh.

And that literally does mean guard. Now we're back to the mindset. Because you will be tempted even in the midst of that peace to pick these things back up again and start worrying all over again from the top and say well maybe God's not on top of us.

Nope. This peace he gives us calms our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus and we can take a deep breath and rest. And give thanks. And give thanks. Yeah.

With prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving. So yeah. So anyway we are continuing the Sermon on the Mount next week. We're going into chapter 7 and so. We stepped on your hot button yet.

Yeah. So please come back and join us. I'm enjoying it. I hope you are too. So we'll see you next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website And while you are there take a moment to drop us a note.

Remember the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. It's not a reward I want to work for. It doesn't sound very productive. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-08 14:21:53 / 2023-04-08 14:34:03 / 12

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