What worries you? Or maybe a better question, What keeps you up at night? It was January of this year that I was laying in bed and my mind would not turn off. We had opened our 2019 Mexico trip registrations two months earlier and our sign-ups were not where I thought they should be. I was up worrying if we were going to make it this year as an organization. I prayed, “God we need more people to come on our trips!” I began to think about ways we could raise more money. Should we do another fundraiser this spring to help ends meet?
Worry was consuming my life.
Worry can literally choke the life out of you. It can steal your sleep, frustrate relationships, and cause more grey hair (this is unscientifically proven).
We worry about a lot of things in America; safety, security (physical and financial), status, and money, to name a few. We work hard to maintain a level of income and safety for our families. We work hard so our families can not only have enough to live on, but to enjoy the better things in life. Others work hard to maintain a certain status, whether it’s to make the family look better and successful or so that our children won’t miss out (FOMO is a real thing) or get into a prestigious university.
Sometimes it is to keep up with our friends and neighbors. The race of life intensifies and the worry becomes overwhelming and the thorns of this world begin to choke our life and more importantly, Jesus.
We talk a lot about worrying in our churches and how we should trust God with our lives. But when Jesus was talking in Matthew 13:22 about the different soils he put worrying and the deceitfulness of wealth in the same type of soil, the thorns. I know I have heard a lot of sermons about the different soils and when we get to the thorns, most of the time spent is on worry. But Jesus also said, “deceitfulness of wealth would choke out the word.” Jesus’ top two topics He taught people was about The Kingdom of God and Money.
Deceitful – “If you say that someone is deceitful, you mean that they behave in a dishonest way by making other people believe something that is not true.” – Collins English Dictionary.
So if wealth is deceitful what is wealth making us believe that isn’t true?
No more worries
There is a belief that if we could make so much money, then there would be no more worries in my life.
“If I could just earn $___________ dollars then I wouldn’t have a care in the world.”
The media does a great job of selling us on the belief that more money equals no more worries or more money equals a happier life. The worry of money does not become less the more we have. Studies show that whether you make 20 million or are living paycheck to paycheck, money is one of the biggest worries of people. The worry might manifest themselves differently, but the worry around money can destroy our lives.
The root of worry is fear. Fear of not having enough to put food on the table or pay bills. Fear that what if the stock market crashes or if someone sues me for and wants to topple my wealth. Fear that God will not come through. Fear that God will not provide. Worry removes our trust in Jesus and places it on something else.
I will be more generous
Another belief is that we will be more generous if we had more money.
“If I had 1 million dollars then I could be the most generous person ever.”
First, let me say that some of the most generous people I know are wealthy and some of the most generous people I know are poor. The amount of money someone has does not always equate to being more generous. Wealth can cause us to turn inward, become selfish, and be only concerned with our selves and our needs. Generosity is a condition of the heart, not the financial status of the person.
Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Jesus wants us to be radically generous, no matter our financial status. You cannot out-give God. There will always be enough.
If I have more money I will be safe and secure.
2008-2009 saw one of the biggest recessions in my lifetime. People were losing houses. People lost thousands of dollars in their 401K and Roth IRAs. People lost secure jobs. The bottom literally fell out from many people. Many thought they were financially safe. Wealth does not always equate to God’s blessing. Wealth gives the perception of safety. Our only safety is in Jesus.
Jesus stated that the worries of this world and the deceitfulness of wealth will choke the word making it unfruitful. When we become so consumed with money, wealth, and status, our minds and hearts are not consumed with Jesus and we become incapable of being fruitful where it matters, in the Kingdom of God. Fruit in the Kingdom of God will last forever, we can’t take our money with us, but we can use the money to further His Kingdom. His kingdom will last forever.
As Jesus said, “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God…”