During the war between two city-states in ancient Greece, a spy was captured and sentenced to death. Before the execution he requested an audience with the King.
The interview was granted, and the condemned man stood before the Ruler and begged “O great king, if you do not execute me, but instead allow me to live a mere two years longer, I will teach your favorite horse to sing.”
The king thought “What’s two years? I can always kill him later.” So he agreed, and the spy was spared.
Several weeks later two of his friends were smuggled into the city to learn of their friend’s fate. Imagine their surprise when they found him in the stables playing a harp in front of the king’s horse.
After telling them his story they said, “You’re crazy! You can’t teach a horse to sing! The king will kill you!”
The spy then said very wisely, “In two years, anything can happen. The king may die; I may die: or, who knows maybe the horse will learn to sing!” And he went on playing the harp.
What a great lesson! Too often we worry about potential problems that may occur. Regarding this matter, Jesus issued this divine advice:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV)
It’s obvious that many people are worried about the future. About the rapid moral decline in our country. About the stock market. About terror attacks. About personal safety and security.
Yet, what does worrying accomplish? An old adage says, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do. But it won’t get you anywhere.”
William A. Ward called worry “faith in the negative, trust in the unpleasant, assurance of disaster and belief in defeat.”
In the context of this great verse, Jesus’ admonition is based on ordering our priorities correctly. When we do, worry is diminished (Matt. 6:19-34)
When my values are right, I won’t worry about the unimportant things in life. Three common sources of wealth in Palestine were expensive garments, grain, and gold or silver. However, moths can destroy clothes, rats and mice can get into the granary and eat away the grain, and thieves can steal precious treasures. Jesus is saying we ought to value that which is permanent. Spiritual. Eternal.
When my vision is clear, I won’t worry about the distractions of life. Jesus contrasts a blind person and sighted person. In the metaphor he equates the eye to the heart. As we fix our eyes (heart) on worldly ambition it impacts the whole of our life. The gospel opens our eyes to what’s really important. The “god of this world” tries to distract our vision with jealousy, prejudice and pride.
When my master is God, I won’t worry about who’s in control of my life. There are only two choices. Jehovah God or worldly concerns. These two choices involve whether we will walk by faith or walk by sight?
Values and vision determine who I will serve. When I realize that all things belong to God, that people are more important than things and that wealth is to be a subordinate good, then I can know my values are solid and my vision is clear. So, why worry?
Instead of worrying, Jesus instructs us to change our focus.
(1) Concentrate on the Kingdom. It is the true rule of God in our lives. It is the greatest treasure. It transcends all that is physical and material. And it is eternal.
(2) Seek God’s righteousness. Not our self-righteousness. Or the world’s self-deluded righteousness. But seek that which issues itself in true righteousness and holiness.
(3) Live one day at a time. Warren Wiersbe was right. “Worrying about tomorrow does not help either tomorrow or today. If anything it robs us our effectiveness today–which means we will be even less effective tomorrow.”
Be active. Be positive. Do something good for someone else. As Pat Schroeder said, ” You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.”
Don’t worry about this old world. God’s prepared a better place for His people.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman