I’m not the only one scared. Animal Planet listed them as #6 on the Top 10 Animals that Scare Us the Most. The scariest thing about sharks is their teeth. Sharks don’t just have teeth…they have rows of teeth. And if they lose them in a ravenous battle, they grow back. Those are some serious gnawers!
While my DH has a deep respect for sharks, I could do without them. I’ve even strategized what I would do if I ever met a shark, say, while swimming in Lake Eerie (one can never be too careful!). I’d first kick him dolphin style in the gills, and then flounder away to shore. After looking up “how to survive a shark attack“, I realize I would probably be eaten alive.
While I may never encounter a real, life, man-eating shark (Animal Planet tells me I’m more likely to be struck by lightning – another worry of mine!), I have often treated worry like
a shark without teeth.
Imagine that for a second – a shark without teeth. We would most likely still try to avoid it because of its strength and speed; but in the end, we wouldn’t have the same fear of sharks because they can’t bite us with thousands of razor-sharp teeth. What’s the worst that can happen with a toothless shark?
In the same way, we sometimes look at worry to be something we should probably try to avoid, but really in the end,
- it has no real bite
- no real consequence
- it really can’t hurt us.
It’s certainly not a sin, and if it is, it’s not a major one. So why really try to earnestly fight it?
But what if worry does have teeth?
Let’s call this worry with teeth the Worry Shark.
I recently received a couple deep gashes from the Worry Shark. I had thought worry was annoying, but nothing of major consequence. Certainly not something I was going to take a serious look at addressing.
But then I re-read Matthew 6:25 – 34. I’ve always read this passage as a gentle encouragement to not worry. Kind of a nice pat on the back from Jesus saying, “Hey friend, don’t worry. I’ve got your back!” And He does, as He remind us of how valuable we are to the Father – more than birds and flowers. But then Jesus uses a couple of phrases that make me a little uncomfortable with my worry.
In verses 28 – 30, Jesus compares the way God beautifully clothes the grass of the field with how he cares for us. But then it’s as though Jesus scolds those who worry when He says in verse 30,
“But if God so clothes the grass of the fields…will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
That hurt a little bit. I don’t like to be grouped in as “one of little faith” because I worry. I like to think that worry isn’t that big of a deal. But Jesus gives worry a solid row of teeth. He makes a connection between worry and lack of faith, seeming to say that worry affects ones faith. You can almost hear the exasperation in His voice as He says, “O you…” He doesn’t stop there. He continues in vs. 31 – 32:
“So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things.”
That hurt a little more to because I sometimes chase after the same things pagans do. I worry about whether or not we can make our grocery budget and if we’ll have clothes as our children grow. And those are just a couple of my worldly worries! I don’t want to do what the pagans do! Now the Worry Shark has another row of teeth.
Jesus clearly takes worry a little more seriously than I have in the past. However Jesus has more to say about the Worry Shark. Check back next Wednesday to rediscover two passages about worry that have some bite to them. Two passages that left have left me wounded and lame. So much so that I can never again look at worry as a toothless, harmless shark.
What about you? Do you look at worry as a toothless shark? Or does worry have teeth?