The Sparrow and the Heart: The Sparrow (Part 3)

Meet George. George is a 45 year old male who lives in Cincinnati. You’ve just befriended him on Facebook and here’s what you discover:

George likes REO Speedwagon, Buffalo Wild Wings, and The Cincinnati Reds. He works for Proctor and Gamble and last Spring he took a vacation to the Grand Canyon (he’s got lots of pictures). He likes the show Dexter on HBO…and also he randomly gave a thumbs up to Tim Hortons and Gladys Knight. He has 800 friends and he likes to send them all Farmville requests…which they all hate (I mean really hate!).

And that is George, now you know him. Only you don’t really know George at all, but that is the way our culture has trained us to think. A person is essentially the collection of all their hobbies, interests, and possessions. Who you are is what you do for work and for fun. But this cultural assertion does not mesh well with Jesus’ own view of meaning and significance. They are as opposite as oil and water, or Ryan Reynolds and acting.

In Matthew 6 Jesus is trying to encourage His followers to abolish anxiety. He has addressed the rich in the previous sections and here he addresses the poor. But Jesus is not simply going around saying, “Don’t worry.” He’s not that obnoxious song on the radio that constantly repeats “Don’t worry, be happy!” Jesus is not saying: “Are you in debt up to your eyeballs…don’t worry, be happy!” “Have you been diagnosed with cancer…don’t worry, be happy!” That is not Jesus’ agenda. He has real motivations for us and it begins with realizing that life is bigger than what we have reduced it to.

Matthew 6:25 he states plainly, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” The question is rhetorical, and for Jesus the answer is an obvious yes. Life is more than the basic needs of food and clothing. It’s not, of course, that these things don’t matter. Christians are not nudists running around telling people to throw off their worries and their underwear. But the point is that what we worry about speaks to what we think is most important.

It’s both natural and right to have concern about yours and your family’s well being. You should express concern if you don’t have food or home or money. And yet Jesus says He will care for His children. If you are driven to crippling anxiety over these things you are essentially saying life is just this. But the point Jesus is going to go on to make, and the point this series will go on to make, is that sometimes God’s purposes are found in our lack of food and clothing (and much more). When we recognize, however, that life is about more than our comfort and sustainability, but that life is about the glory of Jesus then we can put anxiety away.

It is only when we get captured by this bigger picture of life that we can abolish anxiety. When we are so convinced that life is about our survival and our pleasure we will always worry that such things are in jeopardy, because after all they constantly are. But when we see that life is about living for God’s glory then we can know for certain that this purpose will be fulfilled. You can abolish anxiety by cultivating a bigger view of life!

This is the place where we all need to start: Life is more than food, clothing, home, job, hobbies, lovers, and self!

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