Do you look at worry as something to actively address? Or as something that isn’t really that big of deal?
I’ve begun to look at worry like a shark with teeth, which I affectionately call the Worry Shark. I believe worry, according to Scripture, has sharp consequences and is something we need to deal with…like a shark with teeth.
Last week I shared a familiar passage where I first met the Worry Shark. But the following two passages really shocked me and changed my view of worry.
Jesus was teaching his disciples about signs of the end of the age. After revealing some pretty intense stuff (the disciples eyes must have been bugging out as He talked with them!), he begins to wrap up with vs. 34
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
Just to be clear, “that day” Jesus spoke of was His second coming. So Jesus is telling his disciples to be careful not to be weighed down with the anxieties – WORRIES – of life because the day he returns will come unexpectedly.
Personally I don’t struggle too much with dissipation or drunkenness (save the occasional party boat experience), but worries of this life…ding, ding, ding! I was shocked that Jesus would list little ole’ harmless worry as something to be careful of as we wait for His second return. That revelation left me a little wounded by the Worry Shark. The next passage left me lame.
Matthew 13:18 – 23
I’ve read this passage several times, heard sermons on it, listened to devotions highlighting it, and even told my kids about it. Yet I had never caught what Jesus was saying about worry until recently. Jesus was teaching one day, and told the crowds the Parable of the Sower to reveal different ways people react to God’s word.
You remember this one, right? It’s about the farmer who scattered some seed on a path.
- Some of the seed was eaten by birds.
- Some fell on rocky places and didn’t grow long.
- Some grew but was choked by thorns.
- Some grew in good soil and produced a big crop.
I’ve always believed myself to be the seed growing in the good soil. I was swimming along just fine until I got to Matthew 13:22 when Jesus explained the meaning of the parable to his disciples:
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man (and woman!) who hears the word, but the WORRIES OF THIS LIFE and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”
Wait a minute Jesus. You’re telling me that the worries of this life…like sharks, or losing my family in a horrific housefire, or not having enough money to have more kids, or that my friends don’t really like me, or that eating non-organic food will give me cancer, or that my kids will grow up and not believe in the Lord…all these and more can choke my little plant and kill it?
Of course I have a plant that’s growing – I love the Lord as my Savior. But at the same time, there are weeds growing alongside my plant. These weeds are called the worries of this life. And they have the potential to choke my plant
My plant – my faith – could die. Because of the worries of this life.
The Worry Shark has left me wounded and lame. I will never again look at worry like a toothless shark. Worry is serious. It has consequences. The bite worry has can affect us as we wait for Christ’s return; and it can affect our very faith.
Maybe we should take worry a little more seriously. Battle against it a little more intentionally. Seek God’s counsel and forgiveness in regards to it. Because in the end, a Worry Shark can kill.
How’s your plant doing? Are you living with some weeds?