Waimea United Church of Christ

 

Luke 12:22-34                            “No Worries”

 

            Here is the story of a man and a woman who get married. This is in honor of fathers’ day. On the eve of their wedding, the man tells his soon-to-be wife, “I want to be there for you though all your worries, through all the tension, through all the hard times when we have children.”

            The woman turned to him and replied: “But I do not have any worries or tensions!”

            The man replied: “I know. We have not had any children yet!”

 

            This last week I went down to New Hair World and got my haircut. Thank you folks who noticed! Anyway, I noticed that my hair is getting really thin on top. I think the worry and stress in my life might be causing me to lose my hair. And, you know the number stress and worry in my life right now is the fact that I might be losing my hair!

            Worry creates a vicious cycle in our lives because there are true anatomical changes in our bodies when we worry. Worry causes our heart rate to increase. Temperature rises in the body. Focus diminishes. That informs us that we should really worry about being worried.

            So, we really need to hear what Jesus is saying to us this morning. Don’t worry!

 

            I find it interesting that Jesus does not really address his advice to the myriad crowd of people that are there. Remember from last week, there are thousands crowding around him. Yet, he addresses this advice, this admonition, directly to his twelve disciples. What were they worried about that Jesus should address this to them?

            To be perfectly honest, I think they were worried about Jesus. I think they were worried that Jesus might leave them. They would be left with a crowd of people, but Jesus would not be there for them. What happens if the crowd gets out of control? What if they turn on Jesus for some reason? What if, God forbid, there be no crowd at all? They hear the Word of God and turn away!

            Jesus addresses the disciples’ worries as he knows their hearts. They have been following Jesus for many months now. They are still worried about what they will eat and what they will wear. We know this because Jesus mentions this specifically. I find this curious as in so far they seem to have lacked for nothing. Jesus has always provided for the disciples, just as the disciples have always provided for Jesus.

            Not many of us here have wondered if we will have enough food the next day. We are so blessed to be living in a land of plenty. It is hard for me to imagine that there are people who might be going hungry in our country, but I am told that that is the case.

            I do know that in other countries for sure there are people who are hungry. I have seen them and have done what I could in an immediate sense. I have given what food I had on hand.

Statistics tell us that there are over a billion people on our planet who do not have enough to eat. There is, by the way, certainly enough food on the planet to feed everyone still today. However, we are not able to feed everyone for various political reasons.

We as Christians should never forget that one of the commandments to us, in fact it is repeated three times, is to “feed Jesus’ sheep.” We read this in John 21:15-17.  Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. Peter replies affirmatively. Jesus commands therefore that His sheep should be fed.

 

When my wife and I were missionaries to Thailand, we learned two ways of greeting someone. Here in Hawaii, we like to ask “How’sit?” I always want to respond, “I sit fine, thank you!” “How sit you?” When I go to one of those four-day conference meetings on Oahu, I have to ask “How sit?” because all we do is sit all day. Anyway, in Thailand one asks, “Have you eaten yet today?”

Another thing that one may ask is “Sabay may?” There is really no good way to translate this sense. “Sabay” means to have no worries. “Hi, are you worry free today?” might be a good translation. From this greeting, we can see that the general population still worries about eating in Thailand.

Also overseas, I have met people who spend all they have on food, and therefore are not able to provide for basic clothing needs. Here, if there were a person who needed clothing, we would just give him or her such. That is not the case around the world. Many have only one piece of clothing or nothing at all. And, there really is no extra clothing in second hand rummage sales to spare.  

 

            What do we worry about in this country? One would think that we would have no worries at all. Yet, we worry mostly about tomorrow—if you ask me. Worry is specifically about what tomorrow will bring. Someone once said that worry is “paying interest forward on troubles that may never come.” In our society we pay a lot of interest on things that generally are not worthy of our worry.

            One of the best things to lessen worry is humor, to joke about things. I think Jesus tells us this in his own way when he says that when we worry we cannot worry our way to being a cubit taller. That is 18 inches or so. That is really meant to be funny. There is no other way to interpret that. And, you cannot worry yourself another day onto the span of your life. In fact, worrying probably shortens our lives, not lengthens them. So have a good laugh at your own plans in life and do not worry. If you planned to be taller in your life, and that has not worked out, no worries. Laugh it off.

 

            Let us not take our own human plans too seriously. One of the things that came up in discussion at the Aha Pae Aina in Honolulu recently was the whole notion of our churches coming together to come up with a so-called “strategic plan.” The issue, quite simply put, is “Do we always have to have a plan?” Jesus gave us a Great Commandment: “To love God and one another.” Jesus gave us a Great Commission: “Go out and make disciples of all nations.” We have other commandments, such as to “feed His sheep.” Do we need a strategic plan to do these things? Are not these things that we should be doing more about how we live in our world today rather than some master strategic plan of the church.

            When we look at the ministry of Jesus Christ, does it not come across to you that Jesus did not spend a lot of time in the locker room with his twelve team players going over the playbook. They just seemed to be out on the field all of the time. That is the way it is with mission! You just have to get out of the locker room and into the mission field.

            Let us look at the whole Pentecost experience when the Holy Spirit came down and touched people in the Temple with tongues of flame. Nobody planned for that to happen that day. God just made it happen. This raises the sincere question as to how any of us should know if our personal plans fit with God’s plan in heaven for us.

            My wife, as a substitute teacher when school is in session, will often times come home and raise the concern to me (I did not want to say “complain”) that the teacher did not leave a lesson plan for the classroom that day. Yes, of course my wife Helen can come up with her own plan on a moment’s notice; however, would it not be better for her to have the plan from the regular teacher?

            In my plan for the sermon today, I had thought that a nice Second Coming of Jesus would fit in really well here. That is my plan. Ooops, God has a different plan apparently. The best that we should be able to do is seek out God’s plan for our lives. We do not have to have a plan; we just need to click into God’s plan for us. We strive first for the Kingdom of God. That will take most of our worries away!

 

            Put your treasure in heaven. If you can imagine that you are traveling to a foreign country this summer. You arrive at the airport. What do you do? You exchange some of your American dollars for the currency of the place you will be going. Isn’t that right? Otherwise, you will land somewhere and have no means to live. This analogy, by the way, is attributed to Pastor Chuck Smith.

            I have a friend who went on a mission trip to Ecuador. When he got there, he noticed that the local currency was all these coins that had a woman on them. He looked again and noticed that the coin was the Sacagawea dollar that we never see here in this country anymore. The reason we do not see them is that they are all in Ecuador! Yes, Ecuador uses US currency—that to stabilize its economy.

            So, think about it in this way: what we do here earns us currency that can be used in Ecuador—I mean in heaven. Jesus tells us to make a purse that can be used in heaven. That is kind of a joke again. It is humor. Jesus is talking about the human heart where the things that are truly to be valued are stored up. Our hearts are our purses in heaven. 

             What is of value to us today? What do we cherish? Mostly it is the love that we have in our hearts for others, for family, for friends, for our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the love that we have now, and this is the love that we take with us to the Kingdom of Heaven. And, as a father myself, I will affirm that this is the love we celebrate this day, Father’s Day.

 

Amen.