Worry Prov. 27 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When you read Prov 27:1, Jas 4:14 and Matt 6:34 you don’t find the word “Worry” in the text but you understand from the texts that we are not to worry. As much as Christians worry, you would think that there must surely be a commandment to do it.
Trouble comes from worrying about things that are past which you can’t change or from worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. Like a famous orator said, “Each speech costs me two nights, one thinking about what to say and one thinking about how much better I might have said it.”
There are two days in every week about which you should not worry – yesterday and tomorrow – so that leaves only one day – any man can fight the battles of one day – you break down when you add the battles of those two other days – those two days are like eternities. Notice:
The Futility of Worry – a man made a worry chart to see the percentage distributions of the things he worried about – 40% never happened – 30% were about past decisions – 12 % were about others’ criticisms of him – 10% were about his health – only 8% were legitimate.
Worry is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.
An archbishop had a morbid fear of becoming paralyzed – at a dinner party he was sitting next to a lady when he exclaimed, “At last, total insensibility of the right leg” – the lady replied, “Your Grace, it may comfort you to know that it is my leg you are pinching.”
The Severity of Worry – nine times out of ten, worrying about a thing does more damage than the actual thing you are worrying about.
Your physical responses to worry and anxiety break down your resistance to disease by affecting your immune system, your heart and blood vessels, and your glands that secrete hormones – these hormones help to regulate brain function and nerve impulses – add to these unhappiness, sleepless nights and depression and you begin to see the destructive work of this monster called, “Worry.”
Worry is the advanced interest you pay on troubles that seldom come.
The case of J.C. Penney will serve to illustrate this point well – when he worked for a grocer as a teenager he was taught how to “cut” coffee to increase the grocer’s profit – his dad made him quit – he went broke in a butcher shop in Colorado in his early twenties because he wouldn’t bribe the local hotel chef with weekly bottles of bourbon – he went into retail merchandising and in 1929, when he was 53 years old, he worried that he would go broke again – he had sleepless nights, he contracted shingles and he was hospitalized – he thought he was going to die – so he wrote his farewells to family and friends – he managed to improve enough to attend a chapel service and there he heard the song “God will take care of you” – the line “No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you” impressed him – believing that God truly would care for him, he was freed from his prison of worry – he died in 1971 at the age of 95 with 1,660 stores – his was the 5th largest merchandising company in the US – annual sales were $4.1 billion, his stock was worth $24 million – until his final illness he was on the board of the company and kept 5 secretaries busy typing his correspondence.
The Iniquity of Worry – Ps 37:1-3, 7-9 says “Fret not thyself” – to fret means to cause to suffer emotional wear and tear; to trouble persistently; to vex, to torment, to WORRY – and here we are commanded not to do it – the reason is simple – once you start to worry about a thing, you are looking for a way to fix it or else you are looking for someone else to fix it for you – ultimately, you look to the Lord and if he doesn’t dispel your worries, you fret against him [Prov 19:3] – he’s not the one to blame – you are – so, quit worrying.
Conclusion: You must get the victory over worry. Here’s how:
- Don’t let it get you – All the water in the world, how ever hard it tried, could never, never sink a ship, unless it got inside – all the hardships of this world, might wear you pretty thin, but they won’t hurt you one least bit, unless you let them in.
- Don’t lose perspective – Before Woody Hayes went to Ohio State, he coached at much smaller schools – the first time he saw the stadium that would hold 86,000 fans he was shaken up – his son who was with him reassured him, “Dad, the football field is the same size.”
- Use the Fox River rule – When Abe Lincoln was a young attorney he would ride a circuit with other lawyers, following the judge from county to county in an effort to drum up some clients – once, after a long spell of rain, the small streams they had to cross were as tough as swollen rivers – they were worried about how to cross the Fox River which was surely treacherous by now – darkness fell before they could get to it so they all went to a log tavern for the night – while there they recognized the Methodist circuit riding preacher, a presiding elder, and asked him, “Do you know about the Fox River?” He replied, “I know all about it; I have crossed it often. But I have a fixed rule, ‘I never cross it till I reach it.’”
- Resort to good reason – French soldiers during World War I used to reason this way: “Of two things, one is certain. Either you are at the front or you are behind the lines. If you are at the front, of two things, one is certain. Either you are exposed to danger or you are in a safe place. If you are exposed to danger, of two things, one is certain. Either you are wounded or you are not wounded. If you are wounded, of two things, one is certain. Either you recover or you die. If you recover there is no need to worry. If you die you can’t worry. So, why worry?
- Pray – Phil 4:6-7 – Geo. Mueller said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”
- Keep a good humor – A traveler was afraid of being robbed whenever he had to spend the night in a hotel. He checked into a hotel in Pittsburg late one night and in fear checked the drapes, the bed, the closet, the bathroom, and the tub – he didn’t find anyone who could steal his bank roll – nevertheless he locked the door twice, checked the bathroom again, looked under the bed again and finally turned off the lights – then he called out in a loud voice, “Well, here I am in Pittsburg, broke again!!” That’s funny!